Long Islanders still recovering from Superstorm Sandy's wrath should brace for another blow from Mother Nature as a nor'easter barrels into the area on Wednesday, officials said Tuesday.
According to Lauren Nash, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Upton, a nor'easter is expected to blanket the entire Long Island area on Wednesday.
A coastal storm, Nash said, is projected to move up the East Coast on Tuesday night and is expected to pass southeast of Long Isand and move northeast by Thursday afternoon.
Long Islanders, Nash said, can expect "pretty strong winds," with sustained winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour across the entire region, with gusts of up to 40-50 miles per hour.
"We could see peak gusts between 50 and 60 miles per hour on Wednesday night," Nash said.
With coastal areas already battered by Sandy, Nash said, "Storm surges are big on everyone's mind."
During the nor'easter, storm surges of three-and-a-half to four feet are expected; surges during Sandy were six to eight feet, and higher in some areas, she said.
"The good news is that we don't have the high astronomical tides that we did with Sandy," Nash said. "The bad news is that we're still going to have some minor to moderate coastal flooding on Wednesay, with about a half inch to an inch of precipitation across Long Island."
One difference between the western and eastern areas of Long Island, Nash added, is that storm tracks indicate a possibility of light dusting of snow, or a wintery mix, with no significant accumulation, in areas including New York City and Nassau County. Areas of Suffok County have less of a chance of snow, Nash said.
A nor'easter, Nash explained, is characterized by strong winds from the northeast; Wednesday's forecast calls for gusty winds from the northeast as the storm approaches.
A high wind watch will be in effect from 6 a.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday across Long Island.
In addition, a coastal flood watch will be in place from 11 a.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday for the South Shore of Long Island; the coastal flood watch will be in effect from 2 p.m. Wednesday until 7 a.m. Thursday on the North Shore, to account for the difference in high tides.
Nash warns that the nor'easter could wreak havoc on an already strapped area. "The biggest issue here is loose limbs," she said. Trees already weakened by Sandy could lose their limbs, she said. "With the strong gusts, there could be some additional power outages," she said, adding that it is too soon to determine. "A 60 mile per hour wind could take some trees down," she said.