Jesse Ferrell

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Record Early Snow Causes Damage in Central PA

October 15, 2009; 9:33 AM

UPDATE: You can see all of my photos here. Park Forest, where many of these photos were taken, measured 6 inches. A report from the mountain top at Centre Hall indicated 9", and this marks Penn State's earliest significant snow fall ever, in 113 years of records.

UPDATE: You can also read about a Nor'easter ahead of Hurricane Wilma in October 2005 that dropped two feet of snow in New England. The D.C. Weather Examiner has also published an article similar to this one about Washington, D.C. October snows.

UPDATE: Added info at bottom in regards to specific October snows that I examined.

UPDATE 9 PM: I took about 30 photos on the way home from AccuWeather, check them out here. Looking at the storm reports from the PA NWS offices, it appears we may have gotten the worst of it here in Centre County. I measured 3 inches at AccuWeather at 5 PM, maybe only 2 at my house 2 miles away so it is variable. The highest NWS reports so far:

Tobyhanna, PA: 4.0"

Haneyville, PA: 3.3"

Boalsburg, PA: 3.0"

Lake Harmony, PA: 3.0"

It's really quite unusual because we generally get less, not more snow, than surrounding areas. Allegheny Power says (surprisingly) only 370 customers are currently without power. That's the good news. The bad news, it's still snowing and I think the wind's picking up. Could be interesting.

UPDATE 5 PM: Been really busy today, sorry for lack of updates... posted a photo to Facebook, several inches of snow here. I am really worried about downed trees and power lines, heading out to take more pictures now. Locally, the record earliest snowfall has been confirmed and the parade has been canceled.

UPDATE 2 PM: Snow is now accumulating here in State College and we're posting a video of myself, Henry and Joe Bastardi frolicking in the snow outside of AccuWeather HQ, to our Facebook Page.

Does October snow in Pennsylvania portend a snowy winter? This was a question batted around by some of our meteorologists here at AccuWeather. I sat down with Ken Reeves yesterday and we went over some of the historical October snows here in State College, Pennsylvania, home of AccuWeather HQ [Google Map] via Penn State's website. Results are inconclusive; out of 7 years with measurable snow in October, 2 seasons that followed were below normal, 4 above, and one normal:

1917-18 +13 Inches (Above Normal)

1925-26 -1 (Near Normal)

1962-63 +7 (Above Normal)

1972-73 -16 (Below Normal)

1977-78 +51 (Much Above Normal)

2002-03 +37 (Much Above Normal)

2005-06 -11 (Below Normal)

Only two were Much Above Normal, and there have been 21 other much-above-normal seasons which didn't have October snow.

Other October snows that users left Comments about included 1972 in Philly and Reading (Henry Margusity mentioned this also because that snow fell on his birthday and the following winter was 18 inches below normal) and Paul also mentioned now in Connecticut in 1979.

Outside my window as I write this I am observing a mix of rain and snow here at AccuWeather HQ, the earliest flakes that I can remember during my 12-year tenure here in Pennsylvania. The record early "measurable" (one-inch) snowfall for State College PA (according to PSU) is October 17th. AccuWeather.com is currently predicting 1 inch tomorrow night (the 16th into the 17th) so we could tie or break that record. On the Clinton County & Hazelton webcams below, snow is on the ground.

VIEW WEBCAMS: State College | Hazelton | Clinton County (2 Cams)

CHAT ABOUT THE SNOW with other weather enthusiasts!

ENTER YOUR SNOWFALL AMOUNTS ONLINE with the SnowMatrix

UPLOAD YOUR SNOW PHOTOS to our Photo Gallery!

The models are printing out some pretty unbelievable amounts for this storm. We'll be posting a map shortly in our news story showing our thoughts, which will be much more conservative (and probably realistic). As I've been saying, the main problem with this storm will be the downed trees and powerlines - we don't usually get snow in Pennsylvania while the leaves are still on the trees, in fact as I alluded to above this could turn out to be a record early snow.

Comments (12):

Matt:

I am also getting the stack overflow error at all of the computers in my center. I tried to go to the contact us link below to report it, but ironically I got the stack overflow error once I left your blog. Is there another way to contact them? Thanks.

FROM JESSE: Yes, please email customerservice @ accuweather.com with details including browser version, URL, screenshot, etc.

Posted by Matt | October 29, 2009 1:03 PM

Matthew:

Jeese, the Springfield area of MA had some snow earlier this morning, but, it didn't stick.

I have a question: I saw it snowing in Rhode Island last night on the radar, so how the heck was it not snowing in the Springfield area of MA?

FROM JESSE: This situation has been a weird one - there has been a small layer of cold air at a certain elevation which has been causing unusual results and has proved to be somewhat unpredictable.

Posted by Matthew | October 16, 2009 11:47 AM

Don Brown:

I have been a weather enthusiast all my life and am in my 60's now. I now live in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I have observed when you have a 5 day hot spell in April the rest of the summer never has temperatures that much above normal, when there is a 5 day cold spell in October the following winter never has temperatures that much below normal...Go figure???

FROM JESSE: There could be sometime to that, but most of the time it's just our short memories fooling us. It was said locally that snow in October portended a bad winter but when I looked at several situations it seemed to be about 50/50 (see recent blog entry).

Posted by Don Brown | October 16, 2009 7:29 AM

Paul:

Jessi,Snow fell mixed with some sleet and rain as far south as rte 1 Boston post Rd here in Waterford,Ct. Two and ahalf miles inland from Long Island Sound. Oakdale Ct. 8 miles inland, elev. 400' 1/2" snow on cold surfaces as of 7:45p

The earliest snow i`ve ever seen was on Oct 10 1979 around a inch fell exactly a week after the F-4 tornado hit Winsor Locks Ct

weather matrix member

Posted by Paul | October 15, 2009 8:26 PM

ron cataldi:

Jesse,

During the World Series of 1972 (mid Oct.) accumulating snow fell here in Reading and areas to the north, at least four to six inches in many places. However, the balance of the autumn and winter produced nothing more than snow showers and flurries. I believe that is the winter that Philly had no snow at all. Early snows don't mean a rough winter;but each year is different. I hope some of the meteorologists at AccuWeather recall that event.

Posted by ron cataldi | October 15, 2009 8:14 PM

Brennan A.:

I can feel your excitement in PA with the first significant snowfall of the season, I can't wait for our first in dartmouth Nova Scotia!

P.S love your blog, I read it often!

Posted by Brennan A. | October 15, 2009 5:02 PM

DavePa:

Hi Jesse, Here in Cherryville Pa, Northampton Co. area @ 700' it snowed this morning, then changed to rain. At 3pm, snow started to mix in and at 330 it was all snow. It is almost 430 and it is snowing steady with the grass just starting to turn white. A real surprise. I have heard Mt Pocono has several inches of snow with power outages (unconfirmed).

Posted by DavePa | October 15, 2009 3:21 PM

Hank -SJersey:

Sure is great to see the snow on the cams. Brought a smile to an otherwise dreary day in the office.

Posted by Hank -SJersey | October 15, 2009 1:58 PM

Robin:

Hey Jesse Im from south western PA Washington Co.

Could u tell me if we are going to get normal snow fall or is it going to be more than that.I looked at the map posted yesturday and I can t really tell.

Thanks

Robin

Posted by Robin | October 15, 2009 1:27 PM

Ryan:

Your blog gives me a a script is running slowly terminate and stack overflow and divide by zero error every time. All the other blogs work OK, wonder what it is.

FROM JESSE: This is a known problem with AccuWeather.com, but it's not particular to my blog; click on the Contact Us button at the bottom to report it. Thanks!

Posted by Ryan | October 15, 2009 12:29 PM

Robert Roy:

Why is your radar so wrong,NOOA is right and so is the weather chanel site.I live in sullivan county and it shows us as getting rain,also it shows westchester county ny as getting snow,all the other radars show it right.Our house is 2100ft in elevation and it has been snowing here since about 9:30 this morning and we have about 1in on the ground with a temp of 32.Westchester county ny,is just N. of NYC.Get a good radar!

FROM JESSE: Are you using our new Snow/Mix/Ice/Rain radar or our old Snow/Ice/Rain radar? P.S. NOAA only shows rain, they don't show winter precip.

Posted by Robert Roy | October 15, 2009 12:13 PM

Jose:

Hi Jessee,

You guys haven't been mentioning the Pocono's a lot. My wife text'ed me pictures of my backyard and there's already coating of snow on the ground. I'm at 1800 ft in Pocono Summit.

I work 2 hours away driving from my house (Holmdel, NJ) so as a precaution I'm leaving work early to avoid what happened to me last year for 10/30/2008 storm, where we got hammered with 16 inches and lost power for days.

the temperature where I live is around 32 degrees F.

Posted by Jose | October 15, 2009 11:25 AM

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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About This Blog

Jesse Ferrell
Jesse Ferrell's WeatherMatrix blog covers extreme weather worldwide with a concentration on weather photos and Social Media.