UPDATE 1-Winter punches back with snow, heavy rain in Northeast US

Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:28pm EDT

* Snow could knock out electrical power

* Travel delays also possible (Adds updated forecasts)

By Karen Brooks

April 22 (Reuters) - Wintry weather was set to make a comeback with as much as a foot (30 cm) or more of snow on the way in the northeastern United States on Sunday, while other parts of New England faced the threat of flooding.

After a relatively mild winter, winter storm warnings were in effect in parts of Pennsylvania and New York for Sunday night through Wednesday. Heavy snow was expected to start falling late Sunday with up to 14 inches (35.6 cm) possible, potentially causing downed trees and power outages, according to the National Weather Service.

"In the Northeast, the year without a winter began with a freak snowstorm in late October and it seems it will end with one during the second half of April," AccuWeather forecaster Alex Sosnowski said.

He referred to a deadly storm in late October that caused 2 million people to lose power and caused emergencies to be declared from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts.

Snow also was expected to blanket parts of western New York and the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia starting late Sunday. Up to 12 inches (30 cm) were possible at some of the highest elevations.

Forecasters said that recent rains have caused the trees to replace leaves lost in winter, which could cause them to be heavier and more prone to breaking if snow accumulates.

"In some places, the power will be out for days," said AccuWeather.com forecaster Henry Margusity, referring to the mountain regions of in those states.

The snowfall was predicted to dust parts of the Smoky Mountains in east Tennessee, as well as some light snow in southwest Virginia. Snow was expected to start moving into northeast Ohio early Monday.

By Sunday afternoon, forecasters had extended their winter warnings and advisories up to the Adirondacks and in the Niagara Falls area in northern New York.

The warnings come as forecasters expect an intense Nor'easter storm to move up the coast on Sunday, spurred by a deep low pressure system along the Atlantic coast and bringing with it winds up to 50 miles per hour (80 kph)as well as expected travel delays on Monday.

A flood watch is in effect for parts of western Maine, New Hampshire, northwestern Connecticut, southern Vermont, and Rhode Island. Up to four inches of rain was expected in some areas, according to the National Weather Service.

The flood watch for those areas remained in effect through Monday morning. Watches for parts of southern New York and New Jersey were on through at least Sunday night.

The wet weather is expected to be the worst between Virginia and New York City Sunday evening, including Washington, D.C., with the rest of New England getting doused with rain early on Monday morning, according to forecasters on Accuweather.com. (Reporting By Karen Brooks; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Cynthia Osterman)