By PAT EATON-ROBB
HEBRON, Conn. (AP) – Dan Patrylak recently moved from Arizona back to New England and was looking forward to seeing snow on the ground again, happily picking up two new ice scrapers for his car at the start of his weekend.
Sections of the Northeast were bracing for an October snowfall Saturday as a storm moving up the East Coast was expected to combine with a cold air mass and dump anywhere from a dusting of snow to about 10 inches throughout the area.
“In Phoenix, it’s 113 all summer long,” the 79-year-old Patrylak, of Glastonbury, said Friday. “So, it just depends on where you are and what the weather is and you learn to accept that. Whatever it is, I’m going to be ready for it.”
October snowfall records could be broken in parts of southern New England, especially at higher elevations, National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Simpson said. The October record for southern New England is 7.5 inches in Worcester in 1979.
Likely to see the most snow will be the Massachusetts Berkshires, the Litchfield Hills in northwestern Connecticut, southwestern New Hampshire and the southern Green Mountains. In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy warned residents that they could lose power due to the anticipated wet, heavy snow.
The storm could bring more than 6 inches of snow to parts of Maine beginning Saturday night. Parts of southern Vermont could receive more than a foot of wet snow Saturday into Sunday.
Communities inland will get hit hardest by the storm. Relatively warm water temperatures along the Atlantic seaboard could keep the snowfall totals much lower along the coast and in cities such as Boston, Simpson said. Temperatures should return to the mid-50s by midweek.
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 northeast. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh could see a coating.
“This is very, very unusual,” said John LaCorte, a National Weather Service meteorologist in State College, Pa. “It has all the look and feel of a classic midwinter nor’easter. It’s going to be very dangerous.”
LaCorte said the last major widespread snowstorm to hit Pennsylvania this early was in 1972.
In New England, the first measurable snow usually falls in early December, and normal highs for late October are in the mid-50s.
“This is just wrong,” said Dee Lund of East Hampton, who was at a Glastonbury garage getting four new tires for her car before a weekend road trip to New Hampshire.
Lund said that after last winter’s record snowfall, which left a 12-foot snow bank outside her house, she’d been hoping for a reprieve.
But not everyone was lamenting the unofficial arrival of winter.
Steve Hoffman had expected to sell a lot of fall fertilizer this weekend at his hardware store in Hebron. Instead, he spent Friday moving bags of ice melting pellets.
“We’re stocked up and we’ve already sold a few shovels,” Hoffman said. “We actually had one guy come in and buy a roof rake.”
Simpson cautioned that the early snowfall is not an indication of what the winter might bring.
“This doesn’t mean our winter is going to be terrible,” he said. “You can’t get any correlation from a two-day event.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)