A powerful fall storm, more characteristic of winter, promises to bring a large swath of heavy snow for interior sections of the mid-Atlantic, and locations just west of I-95 in New England. According to NOAA, 25 million people are under winter storm watches (map).
In the mid-Atlantic, the heaviest snow is likely to fall near the I-81 corridor from west central Virginia to the Poconos. In the Northeast, locations about 60 miles northwest of New York City and Boston are likely to get hammered. 4-8” of heavy, wet snow is likely, with some higher amounts to 6-12”+ possible especially at high elevations.
The weight of the snow on top of tree limbs still bearing foliage may cause substantial tree damage and power outages. AccuWeather senior meteorologist Henry Margusity cautions: “There is is no doubt in my mind that we are facing one of the worst snow events in decades given the heavy nature of the snow and how early in the season the snow is coming.”
The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore also sounded the alarm, tweeting: “Historic RECORD setting October snowstorm on final approach for the Northeast. Expect power outages & disruption in travel Sat/night.”
AccuWeather lists the following cities likely to receive the heaviest snow: Hartford, Conn., Frederick, Md., Worcester, Mass., Nashua, N.H., Netcong, N.J., Newburgh, N.Y., Scranton, Pa., Winchester, Va. and Martinsburg, W.Va.
In New England’s big cities, while east of the snow bullseye, record snowfall totals for October are in reach. Meteorologist Rob White at the Original Weather Blog writes:
It would only take 0.9 of an inch of snow to break the October record for New York City, and only 1.2 inches for Boston. Based on the output from the latest runs of the GFS and NAM computer models, those records would be easily shattered.
The National Weather Service in Upton, New York, serving the New York City area, writes in a discussion:
ACCUMULATIONS OF A COATING TO AN INCH ARE ALSO POSSIBLE FOR THE UPPER BOROUGHS OF NYC AND THE IMMEDIATE CT COASTLINE
The Weather Channel notes in addition to snow, wind will be a concern, gusting to 45 mph or more in coastal areas and 35 mph or so farther inland:
....as with any intensifying low off the Eastern Seaboard, winds will be an issue, particularly Saturday night.
While the strongest winds will confine themselves from the Delmarva Peninsula to coastal New England, it will still be windy over areas also seeing accumulating heavy, wet snow.
Add the force of wind to the weight of heavy, wet snow on trees still with leaves, not to mention power lines, and you’ll likely see numerous downed trees and power outages, particularly in the areas with heaviest snow accumulation!