Autumn’s arrival means it’s time for pumpkin spice, Halloween costumes and changing leaves, right? Wrong. Since 2004, the arrival of fall has meant the arrival of serious snowstorms. The last fifteen years have seen Fall in the US open with destructive early snowstorms.
Long gone are the days when fall might open with crisp, cool nights and some nice bonfires where you can roast marshmallows. Instead, Fall in most parts of the country just means it’s time to break out the snow shovel and snow tires.
Why is Early Autumn Snow Dangerous?
Early in the cold season, snow might be much heavier, wetter and more likely to freeze overnight. This makes it much more destructive. When snowfall blankets trees and powerlines in a heavy, wet way, it’s much more likely that trees topple, limbs come tumbling down and power gets knocked out.
Likewise, when the temperature is hovering just over freezing in the daylight but plunging below at night, snow can melt on roads and then re-freeze. This re-freezing creates black ice, the hard-to-detect patches of ice on the road that can cause you to lose traction and slide off the road.
How Likely is Early Autumn Snow?
That depends entirely on where you live. If you live in the American Southeast, it’s unlikely you’ll see any accumulation in early Fall outside of the Appalachians. Likewise, the Southwest isn’t likely to see much accumulation aside from the northernmost parts of New Mexico.
Meanwhile, the Great Plains and New England commonly get snow accumulation as early as November, if not sooner. The Northern Plains, and parts of the Northwest, can often see snowfall in October, and parts of those regions have been known to see accumulation in September.
How to Prepare for Snow
You can prepare for snow by making sure you’ve got ample non-perishable food that doesn’t require electricity to prepare. Similarly, it’s a good idea to keep a radio and flashlights, as well as batteries to power them, with your emergency snow food.
Of course, make sure you’ve got plenty of warm clothes, a snow shovel and some board games to play. When the power cuts out, you’ll want to be prepared and know exactly where you can find your emergency supplies!