Snow hasn't received the memo that might be a little too early for its arrival, because it's been pounding parts of the northern United States through this week. Meanwhile, California is battling the threat of dangerous wildfires, and a cricket invasion caused quite a stir in Texas. Let's look back at some of the biggest weather news of the past week.
|A car went into a ditch during wintry weather near Thompson, North Dakota, on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. The driver of the car was OK, authorities said. (Photo/North Dakota Highway Patrol)|
It might seem far too early in 2019's final quarter to be singing "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow," but residents across parts of the northern U.S. have been given a preview of winter this week with the arrival of an unusual record-setting, early-season snowstorm that's been impacting the region.
As AccuWeather predicted, the storm evolved into an "all-out blizzard" over the northern Plains on Friday. It's the second snowstorm in less than two weeks to hit the northern U.S.
|Interstate 90 was packed with snow at Homestake Pass in Montana. The mountain pass reaches an elevation of 6,385 feet. (Photo/Montana Department of Transportation)|
On Tuesday, Spokane, Washington, received a record-breaking 3.3 inches of snow. It was also the first measurable October snowfall there in 18 years. The weight of the snow on trees brought down limbs and entire trees, in some cases. The storm wiped out power to 30,000 customers in Spokane on Wednesday as the worst of the storm started shifting east over to Montana.
In Helena, 16 inches of snow was recorded by a trained weather spotter. This storm brought the two-week total of snow in Great Falls, Montana, to a whopping 26-plus inches. The storm triggered travel headaches across the region, with canceled flights and drivers struggling to get where they were headed along interstates including I-90 and I-15.
It also caused some dramatic temperature swings. In Denver, on Wednesday afternoon, the locals went from enjoying warm conditions in the 80s Fahrenheit to bundling up amid AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures of minus 6 F with snow in the area the following day. Rapid City, South Dakota, experienced a similar drastic change in conditions, going from a high of near 80 F on Tuesday to heavy snowfall early Thursday, with temperatures plunging into the mid-20s F.
Over in the northeastern U.S., a coastal storm hit the upper mid-Atlantic and southern New England coasts, with rough seas, drenching rain, flooding and strong winds expected to impact the area.
Nantucket, Massachusetts, had received 3.9 inches of rain from the storm as of 6 a.m. EDT Saturday, and a peak gust of 54 mph was also observed on the island.
|A screenshot from the AccuWeather satellite tool showing the development of an eye, which, along with other factors, led to the system being classified as Subtropical Storm Melissa on Friday, October 11, 2019. Melissa is the 13th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season. (AccuWeather)|
The storm is made up of multiple storms wrapped into one, which helped the stalled storm strengthen off the Atlantic coast, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
The storm began to form an eye on Thursday night, and it developed into Subtropical Storm Melissa on Friday morning. Melissa will slowly shift northeastward and away from the coast this weekend.
Public utility company Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) started initiating planned power outages for almost 1 million customers Wednesday due to the anticipated arrival of a widespread, severe wind event that would heighten the wildfire risk in Northern California.
"We understand that this power shutoff is difficult for our customers and communities," said Sumeet Singh, vice president of the PG&E Community Wildfire Safety Program. "Please check on your neighbors, friends and family, and know that we will work safely, and quickly as possible, to restore power across the region."
|The Saddleridge fire flares up near a firefighter in Sylmar, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)|
Hot, dry conditions, gusty winds and low humidity all contributed to the threat of fires igniting in Northern and Southern California. On Thursday, Santa Ana winds helped fuel multiple fires across the southern portion of the state, prompting the ordering of mandatory evacuations.
At least five new fires broke out on Thursday, including the Saddleridge Fire in Los Angeles County that ignited Thursday evening in Sylmar. It has so far destroyed at least 7,000 acres along with a number of homes and has caused law enforcement officials to close parts of I-5 and I-210.
Typhoon Hagibis, which went from tropical-depression status to a monster Category 5 storm in the west Pacific Ocean within a 48-hour period, made landfall in Japan on Saturday evening, local time.
Shortly before Hagibis made landfall, a magnitude 5.3 earthquake struck offshore of mainland Japan. Light shaking was felt in Tokyo amid the rain and wind from Hagibis.
The powerful typhoon has caused power outages and flooding across the region and may have spawned a tornado.
The country was preparing for the powerful storm's life-threatening impacts ahead of its arrival, with air and rail travel cancellations as well as closures of factories, supermarkets and theme parks like Tokyo Disneyland.
Creepy, crawling crickets seemed to take over San Antonio this week as a cold front moved through the area. Millions of the creatures swarmed the city on Tuesday. One woman said that she was so grossed out, she opted to stay in her car and film them rather than wait for the bus at the bus stop.
Although there were a lot of crickets in the area in a short span of time, it didn't really qualify as an invasion, said Molly Keck, an entomologist with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service. "We just have the perfect three conditions that kind of have to happen consecutively for them to do just really, really well this year."
Those conditions are a dry summer, which limits the growth of a fungus that can kill young crickets, an interruption of rain and the arrival of cool conditions. The creatures also took over the walls of a San Antonio school. Check out the video here.