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3M powerless as October snow surprises Northeast

SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn. (AP) -- When winter's white mixes with autumn's orange and gold, nature gets ugly.
freak October nor'easter knocked out power to more than 3 million homes
and businesses across the Northeast on Sunday in large part because
leaves still on the trees caught more snow, overloading branches that
snapped and wreaked havoc. Close to 2 feet of snow fell in some areas
over the weekend, and it was particularly wet and heavy, making the
storm even more damaging.
"You just have
absolute tree carnage with this heavy snow just straining the branches,"
said National Weather Service spokesman Chris Vaccaro.

From Maryland to Maine, officials said it would take days to restore electricity, even though the snow ended Sunday.
storm smashed record snowfall totals for October and worsened as it
moved north. 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 was
blamed for at least six deaths, and states of emergency were declared in
New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and parts of New York.
rails and airline flights were knocked out, and passengers on a JetBlue
flight were stuck on a plane in Hartford, Conn., for more than seven
hours. And while children across the region were thrilled to see snow so
early, it also complicated many of their Halloween plans.
Martovich of Southbury, Conn., said she hoped the power will come back
on in time for her husband's Halloween tradition of playing "Young
Frankenstein" on a giant screen in front of their house. But no matter
what, she said, they will make sure the eight or so children who live in
the neighborhood don't miss out on trick-or-treating.
"Either way we will get the giant flashlights and we will go," she said.

than 800,000 power customers were without electricity in Connecticut
alone - shattering the record set just two months ago by Hurricane
Irene. Massachusetts had more than 600,000 outages, and so did New
Jersey - including Gov. Chris Christie's house. Parts of Pennsylvania,
New Hampshire, New York, Maine, Maryland and Vermont also were without
"It's going to be a more difficult
situation than we experienced in Irene," Connecticut Gov. Dannel P.
Malloy said. "We are expecting extensive and long-term power outages."
shelters were open around the state, and Malloy asked volunteer fire
departments to allow people in for warmth and showers. At least four
hospitals were relying on generators for power.
Newtown in western Connecticut, trees were so laden with snow on some
back roads that the branches touched the street. Every few minutes, a
snap filled the air as one broke and tumbled down. Roads that were
plowed became impassible because the trees were falling so fast.
of the few businesses open in the area was a Big Y grocery store that
had a generator. Customers loaded up on supplies, heard news updates
over the intercom, charged up their cell phones, and waited for a
suddenly hard-to-get cup of coffee - in a line that was 30 people deep
and growing.
Many of the areas hit by the
storm had also been hit by Irene. In New Jersey's Hamilton Township, Tom
Jacobsen also recalled heavy spring flooding and a particularly heavy
winter before that.

"I'm starting to think we
really ticked off Mother Nature somehow, because we've been getting
spanked by her for about a year now," he said while grabbing some coffee
at a convenience store.
It wasn't just the trees that weren't fully ready for a wintry wallop.
McNiven said she was "totally unprepared" for the storm that knocked
out her water and power and sent tree limbs crashing into her Simsbury,
Conn., home. She was buying disposable plates and cups in a darkened
supermarket, a setting that she said resembled "one of those
post-apocalyptic TV shows."
"They didn't hype this one as much" as Irene, she said. "I didn't think it was going to be as bad."
Concord, N.H., Dave Whitcher's company had yet to prep its sanding
equipment before the storm dropped nearly 2 feet of snow. His crews were
plowing and shoveling parking lots Sunday and would be back Monday to
salt sidewalks and walkways.
"It was a bit of a
surprise, the amount and how heavy it was. We should've probably come
out and got a little earlier start, but we did all right," Whitcher
said. He held up his shovel and added, "Me and this guy are going to get
to know each other real well today."

the weather service spokesman, said the snowstorm "absolutely crushed
previous records that in some cases dated back more than 100 years."
Saturday was only the fourth snowy October day in New York's Central
Park since record-keeping began 135 years ago.
usually isn't enough cold air in the region to support a nor'easter
this time of year, but an area of high pressure over southeastern Canada
funneled cold air south into the U.S., Vaccaro said. That cold air
combined with moisture coming from the North Carolina coast to produce
the unseasonable weather.
Though the fact that
leaves were still on the trees worsened storm damage inland, the
nor'easter did less damage in coastal areas than it would have in winter
because warm ocean temperatures limited snowfall, Vaccaro said.
A few businesses enjoyed the early snow: Ski resorts in Vermont and Maine opened early. But it was more commonly an aggravation.
residents were urged to avoid travel altogether. Speed limits were
reduced on bridges between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. A few roads
closed because of accidents and downed trees and power lines, said Sean
Brown, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
JetBlue passengers stranded Saturday at Hartford's Bradley
International Airport were on a flight from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to
Newark, N.J., that had been diverted. Passenger Andrew Carter, a
football reporter for the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, said the
plane ran out of snacks and bottled water, and the toilets backed up.

spokeswoman Victoria Lucia said power outages at the airport has made
it difficult to get passengers off the plane, and added that the
passengers would be reimbursed.
In 2007,
passengers in JetBlue planes were stranded for nearly 11 hours at New
York's Kennedy Airport following snow and ice storms.
were other flight delays in the region over the weekend, and commuter
trains in Connecticut and New York were delayed or suspended because of
downed trees and signal problems. Amtrak suspended service on several
Northeast routes, and one train from Chicago to Boston got stuck
overnight in Palmer, Mass. The 48 passengers had food and heat, a
spokeswoman said, and they were taken by bus Sunday to their
Three people died in
Pennsylvania because of the storm. An 84-year-old Temple man was killed
Saturday afternoon when a snow-laden tree fell on his home while he was
napping in his recliner. In suburban Philadelphia, an SUV spun out of
control on an icy freeway, crashed through a guardrail and plunged down
an embankment, killing two people early Sunday.
Connecticut, the governor said one person died in a Colchester traffic
accident that he blamed on slippery conditions. In New York, a
54-year-old Long Island woman died Sunday morning after she lost control
of her car on an icy road and struck another vehicle
a 20-year-old man in Springfield, Mass., stopped when he saw police and
firefighters examining downed wires and stepped in the wrong place and
was electrocuted, Capt. William Collins said.

snow was a bone-chilling slush in New York City, and was a taste of
what's to come for demonstrators camping out at Zuccotti Park in lower
Manhattan for the Occupy Wall Street protest.
Lemmin, of Brooklyn, spent his first night at Zuccotti in a sleeping
bag in a tent, wearing thermals, a sweatshirt and a scarf.
"I slept actually pretty well," he said. "It was pretty quiet."
said he thought the early snow was actually "a good test," giving
protesters a chance to deal with such weather before it sets in more
The weather was too much for
protester Adash Daniel, who had already been in the park for three
weeks. "I'm not much good to this movement if I'm shivering," he said as
he left.
The snow was relatively light in
Manhattan, as it was farther north in Albany, where a couple of dirt-
and leaf-caked snowmen stood about the protesters waving "We are the 99
percent" signs for passing cars.

In Concord,
9-year-old Nate Smith had more than enough snow to make a proper snowman
with his brother, but he was worried about Halloween. He wasn't sure
he'd be able to go trick-or-treating, and even if he did, his werewolf
costume could end up looking a little different than he had imagined.

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