Anyone who wanted a good Halloween scare only had to look out the window yesterday: Snow, in October.
As temperatures dipped into the 30s, forecasters were predicting accumulations of up to 2 inches in Greater Boston by the time the storm moved out to sea late last night. The North Shore was expected to see the most precipitation, with up to 4 inches forecast for Cape Ann, meteorologists said.
Forecasters said to expect clear skies and temperatures in the low 60s this morning, which they said would quickly melt any ideas about sledding.
''It's going to be a distant memory," Bill Simpson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, said of the season's first snow.
Thick, wet flurries limited visibility to a quarter-mile in Beverly by midafternoon yesterday. Across Boston, snow laced the tops of hedges and awnings. In an autumn where the foliage seemed to never quite turn, the fat, heavy flakes weighed on green, unfallen leaves.
Mike Freel, 46, of Attleboro, squinted into a chilly gray sky as he filled up his gas tank at a
''At least it's not a hurricane, though, right?" he said.
Early snow isn't necessarily the harbinger of a cold winter, said Eleanor Vallier-Talbot, also a Weather Service meteorologist in Taunton.
The myriad indicators used to predict seasonal trends, she said, so far add up to nothing but a lot of uncertainty this year.
''We have no clue," she said. ''It could go either way."
Though forecasters said the wet snow could make roads slippery, State Police reported no weather-related crashes as of last night.
As the sky darkened over South Boston, customers at Brooks Pharmacy on East Broadway were loading up on gloves, on sale for 99 cents a pair. Carrie Hogan, a secretary who lives in the neighborhood, picked out two pair -- ''in case I lose one" -- and her friend bought three.
''I'm not too happy about it," she said. ''It's too early."
But down the aisle, Thomas Parisi, 31, of Dorchester, said he was taking the white stuff in stride.
''This is New England," he said with a shrug, as he picked out face paint for his Halloween ghoul costume and some Kit-Kat bars for trick-or-treaters.
''I prefer it warm," he said, ''but what can you do?"