First snow hits early in the season

11/09/2010 9:20 PM |

Many Long Islanders found themselves brushing sleet from their cars and walking through snow flurries for the first time this season — and still more than six weeks away from the start of winter — but experts say the icy weather won’t be sticking around.
Not enough snow fell Monday morning to grab a measurement, said John Cristantello, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Upton.
“Even though we’ve seen snow here it’s not exactly sticking to the ground,” he said. However, about an inch has fallen in some counties in southern Connecticut, Mr. Cristantello said. According to weather service records, there has been no recordable snowfalls on eastern Long Island by this date since at least before November 2005, the last year records were available. Mr. Cristantello said snow has fallen on Long Island earlier in the season than Nov. 8.
Mr. Cristantello explained that the current storm, which has also brought heavy rains and strong winds to the region, is caused by a weather pattern moving in from the east, while most cold fronts that hit the area travel west. He said the flakes, which fell from about 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., were formed simply because the storm hit at night when temperatures are at their lowest.
“It’s just the time of day,” he said.
Although there were several reports of snow and sleet in northeastern Brookhaven Town and in parts of Riverhead, it appeared the eastern reaches of the North Fork received no snow.
Len Llewellyn, an observer for the weather service who lives in Mattituck said he had not seen any snow near his home, though he said he heard unconfirmed reports of flakes in Cutchogue
“Earlier, [the radar] did show an area of snow,” he said. “[But] I didn’t see any snow.”
The weather service is predicting more rain in the region throughout tonight and a 30 percent chance of showers tomorrow. Skies are expected to clear by Wednesday afternoon with a predicted high of 51, officials said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s outlook for the upcoming Northeast winter is vague and gives equal chance to it being an above average, average or below average winter. It explains that weather in this region is driven by weather patterns over the northern Atlantic Ocean and Arctic, which are only predictable about a week in advance.
vchinese@timesreview.com