The first significant of 2012 struck Long Island overnight and left a trail of car wrecks and traffic snarls in its path.
The remainder of the day is expected to cause ; The Long Island Expressway saw several crashes during the mid-morning hours. One in the eastbound lanes at Exit 48 in Plainview shut down the center and HOV lanes, police reported. A second wreck westbound at Exit 49 in Melville, about an hour later, caused traffic tie-ups. By noon, police reported the crash at Exit 48 was cleared.
Similar crashes were reported Saturday morning on the Southern State and Meadowbrook parkways, authorities reported. For up-to-the minute traffic information, see our live traffic map here.
The National Weather Service said the snow is expected to continue through the morning in Plainview and across Long Island, then change over to sleet or freezing rain sometime mid-afternoon on Saturday.
The weather service issued a winter weather advisory before dawn Saturday, saying moderate bands of snow will develop as the morning wears on, reducing visibility on roadways. The snow appeared to be slowing down early Saturday afternoon.
Roads become rapidly snow covered, making Saturday morning. The key to safety in these conditions is to slow down, experts say.
The reported normal service around noon on all its lines. It said extra personnel and equipment were being deployed to maintain normal rail service throughout the weekend.
The high temperatures should hover around 30 degrees and it is possible the storm will end as freezing dizzle before darkness falls Saturday. Winds will be light.
Total accumulations could range from 3-5 inches of snow before it ends, the NWS forecast early Saturday morning. Little or no ice is expected, authorities said.
Snow plows can be seen around the area. They were already moving shortly after 5 a.m. Saturday. Local officials said previously that they were prepared for the storm.
The skies should clear Saturday night, followed by sunshine and above-freezing temperatures on Sunday, the NWS predicted.