Erin Potter, Staff Writer
A snowstorm hit the Northeast last Saturday night – unexpected weather for the end of October. Our area was spared from the worst of the storm; however, most of the region received record-breaking October snowfall. National Weather Service forecaster Erik Heden said of the storm, “It is odd for October but we did have snow in 2008, so while not common, we do get snow in October. In fact the highest amount in Binghamton was more than 6 inches in 1993.” Heden continued, saying “the Wednesday/Thursday before the storm [computer forecast models] began to show [the storm] going farther off the coast and missing everyone. By late Thursday night the trend started back to the west, and by Friday we knew the trend of a closer to the coast solution was right and issued Winter Storm Watches for Northeast PA and the Catskills.”
In addition to the wet and heavy conditions of this storm, the relative warm weather caused many problems. Heden noted that “despite surface temperatures being above freezing to start, as the storm intensified the rate of snowfall was heavy enough that it allowed the snow to stick to the surface, even main roads.” More than three million people were without power, streets and schools were forced to close for a couple days and there were several reports of downed trees and branches. Many trees still had leaves, making them heavier and more prone to falling. This storm caused 11 deaths as well as states of emergency in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and parts of New York. Also, many flights were delayed.
According to the Daily Star, parts of Oneonta received about four inches of snowfall in 24 hours, surpassing the 1928 record of 1.2 inches. Areas to the south and west were harder hit; Walton, for instance, had five inches of snow. Prattsville and Dutchess counties had snowfall amounts in the double digits; parts of Massachusetts had over two feet. Smaller records were set on Thursday, just a few days before this storm. The higher elevations saw a little over two inches, still an unexpected amount for October. The average, first date for 0.1 of an inch or greater snowfall in Binghamton is November 1 and the average first date for one inch or greater snowfall is November 14.
With the warming of the day and the bright sun, the snow melted very quickly.
The snowstorm threatened many Halloween plans. Some towns in Connecticut and New Jersey postponed trick-or-treating or set up curfews for public safety. The children in those places probably weren’t too happy, but they did get to play in the snow. This storm was a trick for some and a treat for others.