Sections of the Northeast are bracing for an October snowfall Saturday as a storm moving up the East Coast was expected to combine with a cold air mass and dump anywhere from a dusting of snow to about 10 inches throughout the area.
October snowfall records could be broken in parts of southern New England, especially at higher elevations, National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Simpson said. The October record for southern New England is 7.5 inches in Worcester in 1979.
Rain and snow are expected to fall most of the day Saturday in New York City, with just snow falling overnight. Forecasters predict 2 to 4 inches will accumulate.
October snowfall is rare in New York; there have been just three October days with measurable snowfall in Central Park in the last 135 years when record-keeping began, according to the National Weather Service. The largest on record was in 1925 when eight-tenths of an inch fell in Central Park.
On Long Island, rain and thunderstorms are possible after 11 a.m. Saturday with between 1 and 2 inches of rain possible. There is a chance of snow and rain early Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Snow accumulation is expected to be less than a half inch.
Likely to see the most snow will be the Massachusetts Berkshires, the Litchfield Hills in northwestern Connecticut, southwestern New Hampshire and the southern Green Mountains. In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy warned residents that they could lose power due to the anticipated wet, heavy snow.
Communities inland will get hit hardest by the storm. Relatively warm water temperatures along the Atlantic seaboard could keep the snowfall totals much lower along the coast and in cities such as Boston, Simpson said. Temperatures should return to the mid-50s by midweek.
In Pennsylvania, 6 to 10 inches could fall at higher elevations, including the Laurel Highlands in the southwestern part of the state and the Pocono Mountains in the northeast. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh could see a coating.
"This is very, very unusual," said John LaCorte, a National Weather Service meteorologist in State College, Pa. "It has all the look and feel of a classic midwinter nor'easter. It's going to be very dangerous."
LaCorte said the last major widespread snowstorm to hit Pennsylvania this early was in 1972.
In New England, the first measurable snow usually falls in early December, and normal highs for late October are in the mid-50s.