Rare October snowstorm pelts the Northeast

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 29, 2011 10:54 AM

By Lauren Keiper

BOSTON (Reuters) - A rare October snowstorm was expected to unleash heavy, wet snow and wind across much of the Northeast on Saturday with some areas bracing for up to a foot of snow and major power outages.

Heavy snow was already falling by mid-morning across parts of Pennsylvania with about 10,000 residents in the state, Maryland and West Virginia already without power, according to AccuWeather.com.

The early season storm that was starting as rain and changing to snow as temperatures dropped, was expected to hit hardest areas west and northwest of the I-95 highway corridor.

While October snow is not unprecedented, this storm could be record-setting in terms of snow totals.

Hartford, Connecticut, Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Worcester, Massachusetts were among the cities that could be blanketed with up to a foot of snow, forecasters said.

Allentown, for example, typically sees its first measurable snow around December 5, according to The Weather Channel.

Boston will generally see its first measurable snow around the end of November, while New York City and Philadelphia measure their first flakes, on average, mid-December.

The major coastal cities are not likely to be spared from this October nor'easter, meteorologists predicted.

New York City was bracing for up to four inches of snow, tapering off Saturday night, The Weather Channel said.

In Boston, the forecast called for a windy afternoon rain to turn to snow overnight, bringing up to three inches of white stuff, it said.

Wind gusts along the coast could reach 45 miles per hour, it said, adding to the tree limbs and power lines already expected to be down from the heavy, wet snow.

(Editing by Greg McCune)