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Snow smacks Northeast; power could be out for days

A snowstorm socked the Northeast, knocking out power to 2.3 million, snarling travel, and dumping more than 2 feet of snow in a few spots. It could be days before many see electricity restored.

By Genaro C. ArmasAssociated Press / October 30, 2011

A worker clears snow in New York's Times Square Saturday. An unusually early and powerful nor'easter dumped several inches of wet, heavy snow Saturday on parts of the mid-Atlantic region, and it weighed down or toppled leafy trees and power lines to knock out power to 2.3 million as the storm headed toward New England.

Tina Fineberg/AP

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State College, Pa.

A snowstorm with a ferocity more familiar in February than October socked the Northeast over the weekend, knocking out power to 2.3 million, snarling air and highway travel and dumping more than 2 feet of snow in a few spots as it slowly moved north out of New England. Officials warned it could be days before many see electricity restored.

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The combination of heavy, wet snow, leaf-laden trees and frigid, gusting winds brought down limbs and power lines. At least three deaths were blamed on the weather, and states of emergency were declared in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and parts of New York.

"If you are without power, you should expect to be without power for a prolonged period of time," Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Saturday night.

The storm worsened as it moved north, and communities in western Massachusetts were among the hardest hit. Snowfall totals topped 27 inches in Plainfield, and nearby Windsor had gotten 26 inches by early Sunday.

"It's a little startling. I mean, it's only October," said Craig Brodur, who was playing keno with a friend at Northampton Convenience in western Massachusetts.

Along the coast and in such cities as Boston, relatively warm water temperatures helped keep snowfall totals much lower. Washington received a trace of snow, tying a 1925 record for the date. New York City's Central Park set a record for both the date and the month of October with 1.3 inches of snow.

Some inland towns got more than a foot of snow. West Milford, N.J., about 45 miles northwest of New York City, saw 19 inches by early Sunday.

New Jersey's largest electric and gas utility, PSE&G, warned customers to prepare for "potentially lengthy outages" and advised power might not be fully restored until Wednesday. More than 600,000 lost electricity in the state, including Gov. Chris Christie.

The storm came on a busy weekend for many, with trick-or-treaters going door-to-door in search of Halloween booty, hunting season opening in some states, and a full slate of college and pro football scheduled.

More than 22 inches fell in New Hampshire's capital of Concord, weeks ahead of the usual first measurable snowfall.

Elsewhere in northern New England, the unofficial arrival of winter was a boon for some. Two Vermont ski resorts, Killington and Mount Snow, started the ski season early by opening one trail each over the weekend, and Maine's Sunday River ski resort also opened for the weekend.

The severity of the storm caught many by surprise.

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