Northeastern U.S. braces for storm that may seem like a hurricane

As a powerful storm and cold front swing through the northeastern United States into Friday morning, a period of torrential rain, high winds and severe thunderstorms may seem like a hurricane for a time.

Following rain that started the day in New England, much of the daylight hours on Halloween will be rain-free from the spine of the Appalachians to the Atlantic coast.

As temperatures surge into Thursday evening, it may not seem that a storm with dramatic weather is on the way.

However, "an intense band of rain caused by a strong cold front has the potential to cause severe thunderstorms, including damaging bursts of wind and the risk of brief spin-up tornadoes," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio.

It is possible that thunder and lightning will not accompany the severe weather.

The rain accompanying the front can be intense enough and long enough for street and highway flooding considering that leaves are falling or have fallen in many communities. The leaves may not only block storm drains but will also make roads and sidewalks especially slick.

"A major factor for many areas will be high winds that precede, accompany and follow the heavy rain," AccuWeather Chief Broadcast Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said.

"Gusts reaching or exceeding 60 mph are anticipated in some areas as the cold front approaches then sweeps through," Rayno said.

There will be the likelihood of tree branches breaking and the risk of trees falling over. Power outages are anticipated. Trash cans and other loose items can become projectiles. These can pose a risk to kids venturing out, as well as motorists.

Motorists and trick-or-treaters are urged to be extremely cautious when driving and walking as the squall line advances slowly eastward. Weather conditions may be balmy and breezy one minute then like a hurricane the next.

AccuWeather's MinuteCast® can be a valuable tool for timing severe weather and heavy rain events, such as the squall line expected to roll through.

The looming wet weather has caused officials in communities surrounding several big cities from the mid-Atlantic to the Ohio Valley to reschedule Halloween trick-or-treating activities.

In Charleston and Huntington, West Virginia, officials have pushed back Halloween festivities until this weekend, according to The Associated Press. Several communities in the Pittsburgh area have also moved back trick-or-treating times to Friday or Saturday. And in the Philadelphia area, officials in some communities have either rescheduled trick-or-treating for Wednesday night or postponed the annual ritual until Friday evening.

As the storm system with its heavy rain and high winds swings eastward, airline delays and flight cancellations will increase.

While the dangerous weather conditions will swing through Atlanta prior to Thursday afternoon rush hour, it will cross the Charlotte area late in the afternoon. The wild weather is forecast to hold up until later Thursday evening in Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia.

The worst weather conditions are likely in New York City late Thursday night and should improve for the Friday morning rush hour. However, the backup and flooded streets may remain, as well as hazards from fallen tree limbs and wires.

In Providence, Rhode Island, and Boston, the worst of the storm will hit during the Friday morning rush hour. Motorists and airline passengers should anticipate significant disruptions to travel.

Strong winds will follow the rain and are likely to continue to cause problems in the Northeast during the day Friday. The winds will also usher in dramatically colder air on Friday.

For example, in Washington, D.C., following a high in the upper 70s F on Thursday, temperatures will plummet into the middle 40s late Thursday night. AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will start the day Friday in the 30s.

A temperature change of 20-40 degrees from Thursday to Friday will be common across the region.

The air will get cold enough for the first significant round of lake-effect snow from northern and western New York to northern Indiana.


Download the free AccuWeather app to see the latest forecast for your region. Keep checking back for updates on and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.