Icy Temperatures Chill the Bones of New Yorkers This Halloween

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The snowman may be the “In” costume this Halloween. Image Credit: Jason Lemay

In New York, it’s beginning to feel a lot like … Halloween? Bone-chilling cold is gripping the state, with temperatures dipping below 40 degrees. Cold, steady rain and snow flurries fell on New York this week as the temperature hovered around the freezing point. On Halloween, the temperature will rise a little and the high will be closer to 50 degrees, but the layered costume is still a fashionable and functional must this Halloween.

This Halloween howler is wreaking havoc on Occupy Wall Street protesters as well, although thermal images of the area show that most have continued to stay outdoors.

Snowstorm in the Northeast

A fall storm is snarling traffic and creating dangerous walking and driving conditions across the Northeast.  Blizzard-like conditions were reported on Saturday night, and power was out in nearly 2 million homes.  On Saturday night, up to 12 inches of snow were expected to fall across central and eastern Pennsylvania to eastern Maine. Strong winds are making the conditions even more treacherous. Generally, the first snow in the New England region falls in early December.

Branches laden with leaves and snow may fall on houses and cars. Image Credit: Ayla87

This snowstorm is particularly dangerous because the snow will fall on trees that have not yet lost their leaves. Residents should beware of falling branches.

Is This Cold and Snowy Weather Unusual for the Northeast?  

As of Saturday afternoon, New York’s Central Park boasted a whopping 1.3 inches of snow, breaking the October snow records for the city. Record-keeping in New York City began in 1869, and since that time no more than an inch of snow has fallen on a single day in October.

The cold is also unusual. Often, this time of year is a beautiful time to visit the Northeast to view the leaves changing colors in the crisp, cool area. The seasonal average high in New York is generally 65 degrees, with an average low temperature of 50 degrees.

 

Driving can be treacherous in thick snow and black ice. Image Credit: Colin Broug

Why is Cold Weather Hitting New York, Pennsylvania and Maine?

The cold and stormy weather is due to a northeasterly low pressure system. A low pressure system occurs when dense, cold air  moves under warm air, lifting it and causing an area of low pressure. As the system moves along, cold air is pulled in behind it, changing heavy rain to snow.

The National Weather Service says that this early storm does not necessarily mean that this winter will be colder and snowier than usual. However, it does mean that winter has come early to the Northeast of the country.

References

Dail Mail. Occupy Wall Street Protesters Toughing Out the Coldest Temperatures Yet in New York City. October 29, 2011. Accessed October 29th, 2011.

AccuWeather. October 29, 2011. New York City Shatters October Snow Record. Accessed October 29th, 2011.

CBS News. October 29, 2011. Octsnowber: Fall Snow Storm Threatens Northeast.  Accessed October 29th, 2011.

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