Storm Moves Out, But Ice and Slush Hang On

Black ice expected on untreated roads and walkways

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Janice Huff's early morning weather forecast for Thursday, Feb. 3 (Published Thursday, Feb 17, 2011)

    The tri-state area continues to slip and slide after a massive storm of sleet and rain moved out of the region -- but overnight freezing temperatures coated sidewalks and streets in fresh ice.

    Black ice is expected on untreated roads and walkways, the National Weather Service says. Motorists should exercise extreme caution and allow for extra distance between cars while traveling, particularly on secondary and tertiary roads and bridges and overpasses.

    Going forward, the weather will continue cold but dry today into Friday night. Wind chills today will slip into the teens at times despite sunshine. With clear skies and light wind tonight, temperatures drop into the teens in the city and single digits in the suburbs. Friday may see the temperature creep just above freezing in the afternoon.

    Another storm system will arrive on Saturday. At this point, it looks like it starts out as snow moving from south to north during the morning hours but changing to rain by midday, first along the coasts of New Jersey and Long Island and then into the city and possibly nearby suburbs.

    Depending on the storm track, the precipitation may remain snow or mainly snow from around Morris County to Passaic County into central Rockland and Westchester counties to the north and west of that line. These areas of northwest NJ north of I80 and west of 287 best chance for a few inches of wet snow.  

    It's early in the game on this one but there are a few things different about this than past storms. It should be a fast mover but will also be lacking in a cold air source at several levels as it approaches. Temperatures will be very marginal so the precipiation type is going to be tricky but it's looking right now like a wetter system than frozen one.

    Any accumulation should happen Saturday evening as the storm pulls away quickly, leaving us with some sunshine on Sunday and temperatures recovering to near 40 degrees. It's early to throw numbers out there, but it looks like 3 to 6 or 4 to 8 inches are possible in the northwest suburbs with a slushy 1 to 3 inches in nearby suburbs and the city and a slushy inch or less for the coast.

    Naturally, the way this winter has gone, if there's any possibility of snow, however slight, it comes to fruition. But the approaching storm should be more of a nuisance than a crippling event.

    Any slight shift in the storm track will adjust the rain/snow line either way. This storm doesn't appear to have as much cold air to work with so the chances of freezing rain are lower as well as the chances of a significant snowstorm for the city and nearby suburbs.

    MASS TRANSIT (MOSTLY) RETURNS TO  NORMAL

    Mass transit in the region was running on or close to schedule Wednesday night and is scheduled to do the same Thursday morning. The situation hasn't been as rosy for the Metro-North's New Haven line, which has been hit particularly hard by the repeated snowstorms.

    The railroad says it's been forced to operate with fewer than scheduled trains because of the snow and extreme cold. It says about 40 percent of its New Haven line cars are out of service. It has therefore issued a reduced winter schedule for the New Haven line, from Feb. 7 through March 4. This means that weekday morning and evening peak service will be reduced about 10 percent.    

    A Sunday schedule will be in effect for both Saturdays and Sundays, starting this weekend. Metro-North says it is working round-the-clock to repair the cars. It says almost 70 percent of its electric fleet is over 40 years old.  

    The ice storm claimed a life on Long Island where a man, presumed homeless, was found dead in North Lawrence.  He apparently burned to death, officials said.

    POWER PROBLEMS LINGER

    Local utility crews have been busy over the last few days clearing downed power lines and restoring service to customers affected by the ice storm.

    Con Ed reported fewer than 2,000 customers without power by 7 a.m. Thursday, but more than 1,000 of those affected live in Queens. Power should be restored to affected customers in all boroughs by 4 p.m., the utliity said.

    On Long Island, the Long Island Power Authority said power had been restored to all but 48 customers affected by the storm. And in Connecticut, provider CL&P reported 300 customers remained in the dark.

    In New Jersey, the state's largest utility, PSE&G, said it expects to restore power to the remaining 100 customers whose power was interrupted by the winter storm. Since the storm began Tuesday night, crews have been working around the clock and have restored power to more than 80,000 of the utility’s 2.1 million electric customers.   

    As always, check back with NBCNewYork.com for up-to-the-minute weather information and the latest on school closings. Follow us on Twitter @NBCNewYork,and on Facebook/NBCNewYork, and sign up for breaking news SMS alerts on your phone by texting “NYBREAKING” to 639710.