The October 4, 1987 snowstorm

Diabatic cooling occurs when melting snowflakes absorb heat from the surrounding air, causing the air temperature to subsequently drop. When precipitation comes down fast and furious with temperatures initially just above the freezing mark, the air can diabatically cool to the point where a cold rain can quickly change into a heavy wet accumulating snow.

If you were in Albany, NY, or nearby, you know this story:
From NOAA – Surprise October Snowstorm (October 4, 1987)

The earliest measurable snowfall at Albany, where 6.5″ inches fell, with as much as 20″ reported in parts of the Catskills. The storm wreaked havoc on the area because it was a heavy, extremely wet snow, which fell on fully leaved trees. Numerous branches and trees were felled…taking down power lines with them, blocking roads and damaging houses. Albany was described as “looking like a war zone.” Hundreds of thousands of people were without power…some for up to two weeks. It was the most snow that ever fell during the month of October in Albany. Many of those folks without power for a fortnight were in Dutchess, Ulster and Columbia Counties, south of Albany.

It was just a half a foot of snow; I’ve experienced much worse, including over two feet in March of 1993. But this was…weirder.

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