Posted by: pyeager | October 4, 2011

October Snow in the East and West

By Paul Yeager, author of Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities

I’ve been a little under the weather (meteorology humor) lately, but I wanted to write about October snow–both in the East and the West.

Snowfall in the western U.S., because of the high elevations, is not that unusual in fall; in fact, some of the largest snowstorms in Denver history typically occur in the months that border winter (October, March, and April). But the early-season snowfall that occurred in central Pennslvania on October 2 set some records for the earliest record snowfall. This includes State College, Pa.

Check out this Statecollge.com article (quoting AccuWeather) for details and a picture.

Major Storm in the West

Meanwhile, the first major snowstorm of the season is taking shape in the western part of the U.S., with winter storm warnings in effect for the California Sierra and widespread winter storm watches in the mountains of Nevada, Utah, and Colorado.

Watches and warnings on October 4, 2011

While we might assume that an early October snow won’t cause many problems, that assumption is wrong when talking about the western mountains. A foot or more snow will accumulate in the passes above 7,000 feet, and it will be accompanied by winds of 40 or 50 mph.

Winter arrives early in the mountains!.

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