The season’s first “nor’easter” will spread snow and heavy rain across New York and the U.S. Northeast tomorrow, the National Weather Service said.
Higher temperatures in New York City may mean a half-inch to an inch of snow (1 to 3 centimeters) sticking to grass while leaving pavement clear, said Tim Morrin, a weather service meteorologist in Upton, New York. Fifty miles north and west of the city, 6 inches or more may fall, with a foot of snow spreading into southern New England.
“It is definitely going to be a significant early season winter storm, a classic nor’easter,” Morrin said. “It is not unusual to have nor’easters in late October, it’s just unusual to have all the snow.”
The agency posted winter storm warnings from West Virginia to New Hampshire. Parts of the region, including the Catskills, the mid-Hudson Valley in New York and the Berkshire Hills in Massachusetts, may receive as much as 12 inches of snow with some isolated areas getting 15 inches starting about noon tomorrow.
The warning takes effect at 6 p.m. today in Virginia, where as much as 8 inches may fall, and at 2 a.m. tomorrow in Pennsylvania, which is expected to receive as much as 14 inches.
Rain will change to snow in the New York City area after midday tomorrow, Morrin said.
Many trees in the region still have leaves, which may increase the chance of power outages, said Paul Walker, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.
“It’s going to be a wet snow, so it’s going to cling to things,” Walker said in a telephone interview. “Limbs breaking off and branches coming down on power lines is certainly a big concern. Unfortunately, you can’t predict exactly where that is going to happen.”
A storm that passed through yesterday drew cold air into the area and tomorrow’s system will feed on that, Morrin said.
Yesterday’s storm left at least half an inch of snow on grass and cars in suburban Boston. As much as 9 inches of new snow is expected to fall this weekend in some areas west of Boston, according to the weather service.
Less than an inch of snow is expected in Baltimore and Washington, while Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, may receive as much as 9 inches, according to the weather service. Newburgh, New York, may get as much as 8 inches and 7 may fall in Morristown, New Jersey.
In Washington, the city conducted a practice session for plow drivers, according to a statement from the Department of Public Works.
“It’s a coincidence that the dry run occurred the day before the first flakes are predicted for the district,” department Director William O. Howland Jr. said.
Snow in October isn’t unprecedented. The Albany area received 6.5 inches in early October 1987, while the record for the month for New York’s Central Park was 0.8 inch in 1925, Walker said.
Accumulations are rare in October because the ground is still warm and the sun is high in the sky, Walker said.
The weather service has declared Oct. 23 to Oct. 29 “winter awareness week.”