The northeastern United States is in for a wintry blast as the coldest air yet this season charges in with snow showers, squalls and frigid winds as November begins.
Portions of the region were dealt a wintry card to end the week as rain changed over to snow from Boston down to Providence, Rhode Island, and Hartford, Connecticut -- the first flakes of the season for these cities. Boston recorded 4.3 inches of snowfall, shattering the previous record for October of 1.1 inches set on Oct. 29, 2005.
Precipitation has since exited the region with Saturday shaping up to be a dry and cool day. High temperatures will only be in the 40s and 50s F, but it will still be a good day to get out and rake leaves or head to a fall festival with dry weather and partial sunshine expected. The dry weather will stick around through Saturday evening as ghouls and goblins take to the streets for trick-or-treating.
Big changes are on the way by Sunday, forecasters say, as a strong cold front dives southeastward across the Great Lakes and into the Northeast.
"The coldest air mass of the season so far will follow behind the front," AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist David Samuhel said.
Out ahead of the front, rain is likely to dampen the end of the weekend for places such as Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City. But behind it, where air with origins from Canada will have settled in, precipitation will take more of a wintry variety.
"Strong winds combined with cold air aloft will produce widespread lake-effect snow showers and bands of heavy snow Sunday into early Monday," Samuhel said.
The heavier snow bands, known as snow squalls, can cause sudden reductions in visibility and a quick, slippery covering of snow on the roadways. These travel hazards will be most likely to occur downwind of the Great Lakes and may impact stretches of interstates 75, 81 and 90.
Motorists in the traditional lake-effect snowbelts may want to use this early-season event as a reminder to make sure their vehicles are equipped for winter weather driving with an emergency kit in stow ahead of the more frequent bouts of lake-effect snow to come heading into the winter.
Forecasters expect several inches of snow to pile up downwind of the Great Lakes and Northeast, with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 18 inches possible across northern New England.
All rain is expected for coastal areas from Sunday into Monday, including for Boston where 4.3 inches of snow on Friday shattered their previous October snow record of 1.1 inches set in 2005. Some of this rain may be heavy, as forecasters say a secondary storm will develop along the coast.
This secondary storm may be responsible for unloading a period of steady snowfall for a time across Upstate New York and into northern New England on Monday.
It's possible that flurries make it all the way to the mid-Atlantic coast on Monday, according to Samuhel.
Even if snowflakes fizzle prior to reaching the I-95 corridor, cold winds will whip through the major metro areas, making it feel more likely early December in some cases.
"Temperatures can be 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit below normal in the Great Lakes on Sunday, and in the Northeast and northern mid-Atlantic on Monday," Samuhel said.
This will put highs in the 30s and 40s for most of the region, with lower 50s in the southern mid-Atlantic. Cool conditions are likely to stick around for Election Day on Tuesday.
Factoring in gusty winds frequenting 40-60 mph, AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures can be 10-15 degrees lower than the actual temperature, even where the sun manages to peek out. These strong winds could knock down trees and power lines, as well as lead to lakeshore flooding concerns around the Great Lakes.
Where steady rain fell late this past week across the mid-Atlantic and New England, there may be a heightened risk of downed trees due to the saturated soil.
"Any power outages could be problematic for some communities if power is not restored by Tuesday morning when the polling locations open," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll said.
But there is good news for those not quite ready for winter's chill -- this cold blast will be a brief one.
"Temperatures will rebound to near or above normal across the Eastern states during the middle and end of next week," Samuhel said.
The moderating temperatures are likely to be accompanied by an extended stretch of dry weather, not just for the Northeast, but for most areas east of the Rockies -- a welcome break after the whirlwind of ice, record cold and a landfalling hurricane this week.
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