NEW YORK — Mother Nature is demonstrating the full scope of her abilities in the tri-state area, with record-breaking heat Wednesday that is forecast to take a nosedive overnight, and a long-awaited major snowstorm is expected to drop as much as a foot of snow Thursday morning.
The mercury in Central Park reached 62 degrees at 2:15 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. That makes Wednesday the hottest Feb. 8, exceeding the high temperature record of 61 degrees set in 1965.
It'll all change around midnight, however. Highs will be slashed in half — reaching the low 30s Thursday — and chances for heavy snow are high.
A blizzard warning was issued Wednesday afternoon for Suffolk County, where snow accumulations grew to an expected 10 to 14 inches, according to the National Weather Service. The warning goes into effect at 3 a.m. Thursday and lasts for 15 hours.
In the five boroughs, Nassau County, the lower Hudson Valley, northeastern New Jersey and southern Connecticut, a winter storm warning will go into effect at midnight and last until 6 p.m. Thursday, the agency said.
Those areas are forecast to get blanketed with 8 to 12 inches of snow.
The snow will mix with rain and sleet over southern New Jersey and eastern Long Island early Thursday, making for heavy, wet snow, before transitioning to a dry, powdery mixture by the afternoon.
Heavy snow will begin falling overnight, possibly wreaking havoc on the Thursday morning commute. The weather service warns of dangerous travel conditions and visibility at a half- to a quarter-mile below average at times.
Snow will fall at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour, with more than 2 inches in an hour possible early Thursday and into the afternoon.
Wind gusts will pick up throughout the day, with 15 to 20 mph north winds and gusts reaching 25 to 35 mph, the weather service reports. Near blizzard conditions are expected along the coast.
Snow will begin to taper off in western New Jersey around 2 p.m., NYC around 3 p.m. and eastern Long Island and Connecticut around 5 p.m. The winter storm warning is expected to expire at 6 p.m.
The wintery mix will likely stick around for a few days. Temperatures are forecast to pick up slightly Friday, with highs hitting the high 30s, before rising to the low- to mid-40s over the weekend.
PIX11's Joseph Punday contributed to this report.