It's been 84 years since there's been a Nor'easter like this one.
On Monday morning, parts of Pennsylvania and New York were dealing with a springtime surprise -- a late-season storm that put some areas under a foot of snow and cut power to thousands of residents. Even more snow was expected in the higher elevations of Pennsylvania and New York state, south of Buffalo, and northeastern Ohio.
The last time a big snowstorm hit so late in the season was 1928, according to Aaron Tyburski, a National Weather Service meteorologist in State College, Penn.
The current storm is not as widespread as the '28 blast, which dumped 1 to 2 feet of snow on central Pennsylvania and south-central New York, the meteorologist told The Times on Monday morning. This one is "more localized and elevation-dependent," he said.
The higher elevations of Pennsylvania had 6 inches of snow by Monday morning, with 12 inches reported in some areas, Tyburski said. The snow was expected to continue through Monday night, with those higher elevations receiving 6 to 8 more inches.
Tens of thousands of people were reportedly without power in Pennsylvania and upstate New York.
Tyburski said authorities were worried about the accumulation of snow on trees, which got their leaves about three weeks early this year.
"That increases the surface area of the tree, so the snow covers thousands of leaves just on one tree," he said. The added weight meant many trees would likely be toppling onto power lines.
School closures were multiplying Monday morning in western Pennsylvania, according to the Associated Press.
The National Weather Service, in its sum-up of the storm, said that winter storm warnings were in effect from the higher elevations of West Virginia northward to western New York State.
"These warnings are surrounded by winter weather advisories. Winter weather advisories are also in effect for the Adirondacks in New York and in northern Maine. Flood watches are in effect for portions of eastern New York as well as portions of New Hampshire and Maine."
The AP noted that flood watches were canceled for New York City and New Jersey.
Tyburski explained that a so-called Nor'easter occurs when a storm forms off the North Carolina coast and then gains intensity, fed by the warmer Gulf Stream waters off the East Coast.
You "typically see a storm intensify very rapidly off the North Carolina coast and move up to Cape Code and eastern Massachusetts." Northeasterly winds add to the misery of heavy precipitation in this type of storm.
Getting walloped by such a storm and its accompanying snow at this late date in April is indeed rare, Tyburski said. "Not unheard of" -- remember that storm of '28 -- "but definitely rare."
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