All Weather News

Dangerously Heavy, Wet Snow in the Northeast

15 Oct 2009, 1:09 pm

An early season snowfall could spell trouble for some areas in the Northeast.  Morning rain has changed over to a wet, heavy snow in northern PA and extreme southern NY.  An accumulating snowfall is expected in Bradford, PA (one of the coldest locations in the state) and at the higher elevation in western PA.  The lower valleys could see a mix, therefore, cutting down snowfall amounts.  Plain rain is likely for areas south of I-80 including the major cities of Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.  The potential for heavy snow could be disastrous for trees that still have their leaves.  The weight of the snow could snap branches and cause power outages.

Early season snowfalls like this have happened before.  In fact, a catastrophic lake effect snow event occurred in Buffalo, NY October 12-13, 2006.  Large trees that have been around for hundreds of years broke apart under the weight of over 1′ of snow and towns were out of power for weeks.  After the snow event, neighborhoods never looked the same again.

OCT 2006 Snow

It’s a tough forecast in the Northeast.  The storm producing the rain and snow is currently tracking across the Mid-Atlantic and eventually out to sea tonight.  Moisture rich air will combine with cold enough air to produce snow in northwestern PA.  Now, how much snow will fall is harder to decipher.


The amount of snow will depend on the strength of the coastal low in proximity to the coast, how much rain mixes in with the snow, and how much moisture is transported inland.  Some models are printing out 1″ of liquid near Bradford, PA and if it were a dry snow, a 10:1 ratio would put the total at 10″ of snow, but because it’s a wet snow the ratio is more like 5:1, therefore, 5″ of snow could potentially fall.

12 Hr Winter Forecast

Winter Storm Warnings (pink below) have been issued since this storm is coming early in the season with the potential travel hazards of not only icy roads but downed tree limbs.

Watches and Warnings

It will be interesting to see this snow event unfold.  We’ll keep you posted.

Kristin Clark

WeatherNation Meteorologist

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