|Snow coats an apple tree in bloom after 20cm of snow fell over Somerset, Pennsylvania [AFP]|
A late April snow storm has brought parts of the northeastern interior of the US to a standstill. This sudden burst of winter is expected to bring up to 45cm of snow in higher elevations inland, causing some schools to close and knocking out power in thousands of homes.
The spring nor’easter dumped heavy and steady snow to the east of Lake Ontario on Monday. It started off as rain but quickly turned to snow. In the process it affected much of western New York along with western Pennsylvania.
After a milder than average winter across much of the country, the snow began falling late on Sunday from the mountains of West Virginia before moving northwards towards the southern shores of Lake Erie.
Newfield in upstate New York recorded 25cm of snow. This raised the threat of falling trees, which are now bearing leaves of course, and with the snow being wet as well as heavy it also led to power outages. New York’s gas and electricity provider, NYSEG reported that more than 12,000 customers were without power for a time.
Flooding and high winds also added to the widespread disruption after heavy rain caused some flash flooding along parts of the eastern seaboard. Around 57,000 power outages were reported, scattered across several states from Kentucky to Maine, with most of them being in New York and Pennsylvania.
Southern New England was hit by the soaking rains early on Monday by which time the winds picked up to storm force with gusts in excess of 80kph. Indeed the weather in Massachusetts went downhill so rapidly through the weekend that the Boston Red Sox baseball team had to postpone their game against the New York Yankees due to concerns that the high winds might bring down small trees and cause power outages.
The last significant snow storm to hit the northeast occurred over last October’s Halloween weekend. This late wintry blast will be short-lived. Temperatures are expected to return into the low teens over the next few days so any lying snow will inevitably soon disappear.