A Pre-Halloween “Treat”: Lots of Snow For the East Coast

I’m not sure if global warming has anything to do with the freak storm that has been dumping snow and sleet up and down the Northeast. But New Jersey has been having some strange weather. In a four-month span, the state has seen record-breaking heat, an earthquake and Hurricane Irene. Now, as of Saturday, October 29, we and New York have seen the snowiest day ever in October since records have been kept in the 1800′s. Around 11:30 am the snow started falling, with a foot piling up in some areas and almost five inches in my town.

People have been calling the storm a “Halloween blizzard,” with echoes of the 1991 storm in the Twin Cities. We lived in Minnesota from 1998 – 2000, and, when Halloween came and we stood in line to trick or treat the governor’s house, many mentioned that blizzard which left mounds of the white stuff in its wake. We haven’t gotten quite that much snow here in the pre-Halloween storm of 2011 but it’s been bad enough. Over a million people have lost power and utility companies are working round the clock. There’s been plenty of accidents as cars have spun out on slippery roads.

Most of all, trees, many bedecked with brightly colored leaves, have lost branches or simply come crashing down trunk and all under the weight of the snow. All afternoon and evening, we’ve heard cracks, thuds and a sound like firecrackers popping as tree branches have come down, one on a utility line a few feet from the end of my driveway. As Adrian Benepe, commissioner of New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation, commented:

What made the storm particularly threatening, according to Mr. Benepe were the confluence of three factors, heavy snow, high wind gusts, and, “what is really abnormal is trees that are almost in full leaf.”

With more than 2.5 million trees occupying the 5,000 properties within the city parks departments’ jurisdiction, there had been roughly 800 calls logged into the city’s 311 system, by evening, about fallen trees or limbs from across the five boroughs, though about half came from Staten Island.

Benape said that people were advised to stay out of all parks which cannot be closed as their entrances do not allow for such. One women was hit by a falling tree branch in Central Park and treated for minor injuries.

Here’s what Zuccotti Park looked like, with protesters enduring the storm under tarps, tents and umbrellas.

Nikon D3100 - October 29, 2011 - 20

Photo by jorenerene

On a late afternoon walk, my son and I had to sidestep police tape strung across part of our street where we saw power lines hanging limply and trees that looked as if one of Zeus’ thunderbolts had struck them.


Photo by the author

A “perfect storm” of factors led to this pre-Halloween storm:

A large and deep high pressure system sliced cold air into the region Friday and today, dropping temperatures into the 30s and 40s in advance of the storm.

Simultaneously, a storm system developed off the coast of North Carolina and strengthened rapidly as it moved up the Eastern Seaboard last night.

The intensity of the precipitation falling today actually allowed snow to fall, despite the fact that temperatures were above freezing in many places. In a phenomenon called “dynamic cooling,” heavy rain dragged down colder air from the upper atmosphere. That allowed precipitation to freeze and fall as snow.

Temperatures should be up in the 50s F (13-14 C) by Wednesday, so the snow will not be here to stay. As Sunday will still be in the 40s, some of the snow might still be around on Monday, making even the most walkable neighborhoods somewhat slushy. I guess Mother Nature thought she’d send a little early trickery our way.


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Photo by the author


Veronica C.
Veronica C6 years ago

That's a bad Halloween prank!

Katherine Wright
Katherine W6 years ago

This certainly was no "treat"....certainly not for those who lost power {and are still without}, the homeless people and animals, or the feral kitties either.

I agree with Susan W. too. I always worry about the animals when I read about natural and manmade disasters. Their fate is in our hands and that scares the crap out of me.

Winn Adams
Winn A6 years ago

How unexpected and what a mess. Know one was ready for this.

colleen p.
colleen p6 years ago

Susan W. true
but then you might get people who want the "live free, wild, without man. struggle and survive in the animal world"

but because these cats might be animals 16 generations wild,. they are not cuddle pets, but still a domestic "race". Cats are one of my favorites.
at least some people are not pulling a "someone please let those poor freezing raccons into their house!"

anway. I hate this snowaween. I'm glad we have a generator. phones are up(again) but its a baffling thing that happend and it'd good the snow melted off the trees.
so they don't fall

June Storer
June Storer6 years ago

Anybody or anything without a roof is to be pitied in weather conditions like this,
hope they are getting the help they need.

SuSanne P.

Thank you for another reminder of GLOBAL WARMING and what's to come this winter. As I am too tired to even think~ I agree with Susan W's post.

Susan W.
Susan W6 years ago

Hope everyone and thier pets stay safe and warm. Unfortunately the homeless & feral cats & other animals might not fair so well. Hopefully there are some caring people to check on these animas and the homeless can get into shelters.

Adrianne P.
A P6 years ago

The snow was crazy in PA. We got 10 inches. Lots of folks without power still with temps in the 20s at night. Trees down everywhere from the weight of the snow on the leaves. Luckily, my power and heat source was restored after 7 hours, but there are many less fortunate.

Linda J.
Linda J6 years ago

This is not good news for the animals!

Holly C.
Past Member 6 years ago

Well, won't have to worry about your candy melting like we do in the south. ;)