Rare snow wallops October

PAT FRIDGEN
Selah, a Shih Tsu with Florida roots, wasn’t fond of the snow. While bundled up Monday walking with owner Wanda Benton, the day before Selah wore boots for her stroll.

It could have been worse. The weekend snowstorm was a rude introduction to winter, way earlier than most people would have preferred. But there is a positive to the precipitation numbers.

The first sprinkles of rain began at 8:45 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28. It stayed rain until 5:40 a.m. Saturday, when snowflakes began a 12-hour run. When the last landed at 6 p.m. the area was covered with 7.5 inches of snow.

“Under normal winter conditions, this would have been 12 inches,” said Greencastle weather observer Robert Wertime.

The first one-and a half inches melted, due to the temperature of the ground. It was at 45 degrees, and the air was 35.5 degrees. Those geo-and aerothermal dynamics reduced the snowpack. Nevertheless, it was a record-setting snow for the area.

“It’s the largest snowfall for late October since recorded weather history began in the 1870s,” continued Wertime. “Snow is not unusual, but this magnitude is unheard of.”

Electrical outages affected some 2,200 Franklin County customers of West Penn Power. Downed trees were the most common cause. Greencastle and Antrim Township people reported outages at different times throughout the day Saturday, and West Penn hoped to have all power restored by Wednesday night.

Does the early white stuff portend any particular future?

Wertime’s research indicated moderate conditions into December, with the heaviest snowfalls to occur in February and March. And of course, he concluded, “It’s anybody’s guess.”

By Tuesday most of the snow had disappeared, and the sun and seasonal temperatures were back.