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Eastern storms: Snow in time for Halloween

October 28, 2011 | 12:59 pm

October 2011 in New York
Bad weather is brewing in the East, where by Monday young Halloween revelers in some areas could be pushing through snow to go trick-or-treating.

A winter snow advisory issued Friday morning extends from West Virginia to Maine, with the National Weather Service warning about the possibility of heavy snows amid a "major Nor'easter."  Central Pennsylvania and the Washington area were pinned with a storm warning as of about 3 p.m. Eastern. An area forecast, on the weather service website, noted "ramped up" language in its warning "in anticipation of a nasty storm."

Fred McMullen of the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh said in a phone interview that La Nina, which is associated with colder-than-normal temperatures, will influence the coming winter.  "With temperatures forecast to be slightly below normal" and "above normal precipitation, we have the potential for an active winter," he said.

That could be putting it mildly -- for this weekend, anyway. The weather service says: "A storm will develop today over the southeastern states and deepen rapidly as it tracks up the East Coast late tonight and Saturday. The confidence in a heavy, wet snow is increasing."

Accuweather's Alex Sosnowski didn't dampen the drama in his Northeast storm prediction: "A foot of heavy wet, back-breaking snow will plaster areas north and west of I-95 Saturday, causing massive power outages, downed trees and travel nightmares."

The weather service's McMullen said that last winter also was influenced by La Nina.  And it was, at times, a rough one.

By February, winter 2010 already had become the snowiest on record for Washington and its suburbs, as well as Baltimore and Wilmington, Del., the weather service said in a CNN report at the time.

So the Farmer's Almanac prediction for 2010 proved prophetic for some of the nation:  In 2010, the almanac forecast "shivery conditions: a winter during which temperatures will average below normal for about three-quarters of the nation."

What does it have for 2011? Some highlights from the forecast:

For the winter of 2011–12, the Farmer's Almanac is forecasting “clime and punishment,” a season of unusually cold and stormy weather. For some parts of the country, that means a frigid climate; while for others, it will mean lots of rain and snow. ...

A very active storm track will bring much heavier-than-normal precipitation from the Southern Plains through Tennessee into Ohio, the Great Lakes, and the Northeast. ... An active Pacific Storm track will guide storm systems into the Pacific Northwest, giving it a wetter-than-normal winter. Drier-than-normal weather will occur in the Southwest and Southeast corners of the nation.


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Photo: With storms in the offing for cities along the East Coast, Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York bundle up. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times