IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Snow in Northeast could cut power to millions

It's a recipe for mass power outages: up to 15 inches of snow expected in parts of the Northeast on Saturday — much of it likely to snap off tree branches, downing power lines.
/ Source: NBC News and news services

It's a recipe for mass power outages: up to 15 inches of snow forecast in parts of the Northeast on Saturday — much of it landing on trees that have yet to shed their leaves in fall.

"We're expecting this very heavy and wet snow, and a lot of it," Chris Warren, a Weather Channel meteorologist, told NBC News. "And when it lands on the leaves it weighs down the branches, you get the branches snapping, falling on power lines. When it's all said and done by Sunday millions of people could be in the dark."

That didn't sit well with folks still trying to enjoy the fall colors.

"This is just wrong," said Dee Lund of East Hampton, Conn., who was getting four new tires put on her car before a weekend road trip to New Hampshire.

October snowfall records could be broken in parts of southern New England, especially at higher elevations. The October record for southern New England is 7.5 inches in Worcester, Conn., in 1979.

The most snow will likely hit the Massachusetts Berkshires, the Litchfield Hills in northwestern Connecticut, and southwestern New Hampshire, said National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Simpson.

The storm could bring more than 6 inches of snow to parts of Maine beginning Saturday night. In Pennsylvania, 6 to 10 inches could fall at higher elevations, including the Laurel Highlands in the southwestern part of the state and the Pocono Mountains in the northeastern part. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh could see a coating.

"This is very, very unusual," said John LaCorte, a National Weather Service meteorologist. "It has all the look and feel of a classic midwinter Nor'easter. It's going to be very dangerous."

The last major widespread snowstorm in Pennsylvania this early was in 1972, LaCorte said.

The heaviest snowfall was forecast north and west of the I-95 highway corridor, where about six to 15 inches of heavy, wet snow could down tree limbs and power lines from Allentown, Pa., to Worcester, Mass., according to The Weather Channel.

Even New York City was taking precautions, readying salt spreaders and snow staff earlier in the season than in any of the previous 40 years, NBC New York reported.

In this Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011 photo, a truck drives up Sherburne Pass on Route 4 in Killington, Vt., during a snowstorm. Killington received six inches of snow and another storm is predicted for Saturday night. (AP Photo/The Rutland Herald, Vyto Starinskas)Vyto Starinskas / The Rutland Herald

Albany, N.Y., saw 1.6 inches on Thursday and Boston got its first dusting late Thursday night.

Even some mid-Atlantic areas could see snow.

Residents of the Washington, D.C., area can expect rain and snow to begin late Friday night, News4 meteorologist Tom Kierein reported.

Accumulation of snow was predicted west of D.C. on Saturday — especially in areas with elevations above 1,500 feet — but any snow likely will melt on roadways at lower elevations.

The D.C. area has not had any October snow since 1979, according to News4.

Colorado got a dose of storm-caused power outages earlier this week.

About 9,000 homes and businesses along Colorado's Front Range were still without power Friday afternoon. The storm Tuesday and Wednesday brought about six inches of snow to Denver and about a foot to Greeley.

The early onset of wintry weather is also impacting Occupy Wall Street activists. They're having to figure out how to stay outdoors as temperatures drop below freezing.

In New York City, police on Friday confiscated generators used to heat the activists' camp there.