A winter storm forecast to dump three to 10 inches of snow on Long Island snarled the Friday morning rush hour commute, closed schools and left thousands without power at the storm’s midpoint.

Crashes closed lanes of traffic in Nassau and Suffolk counties, hundreds of schools reportedly gave students a snow day and PSEG Long Island reported nearly 15,000 of the utility’s 1 million customers were without electricity at 11 a.m. Friday, although crews were working to restore power. The Long Island Rail Road was reporting 15 minute delays by the end of rush hour.

The National Weather Service (NWS) expanded its winter storm warning from Suffolk into Nassau. The advisory expires in Suffolk at 3 p.m. and in Nassau and 1 p.m. Snow accumulations are expected to be lowest in Nassau and highest in Suffolk.

“A winter storm warning for heavy snow means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring,” meteorologists in the agency’s Upton office said in a statement. “Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous. Only travel in an emergency. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.”

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That’s because moderate to heavy snow and wind gusts of up to 30 mph will combine to reduce visibility to as little as 1/4 mile at times, NWS said. The snow is forecast to taper off by mid-afternoon. The storm is expected to blanket much of the tri-state area and Northeast in snow.

Temperatures are expected to hit a high of 30 when the storm hits. Once it passes, the rest of the weekend is forecast as sunny with temperatures in the 40s. But another storm is expected early next week.

“There is the potential for a coastal storm late Monday and Tuesday,” NWS said in a hazardous weather outlook. “The exact track and intensity is still uncertain, which will determine the impacts for our region.”

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.