Rare Oct snowstorm batters Northeast

Updated: 2011-10-31 06:33


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Rare Oct snowstorm batters Northeast
police officer stops next to a car off the road on the Pallisades Interstate Parkway in Bergen County, New Jersey, early on Oct 30, 2011. A rare October snowstorm that plastered the area with snowfall this weekend, cutting power to more than two million homes and killing at least three people over the Northeast US had moved out of the area early Sunday. [Photo/Agencies]

NEW YORK - More than 3 million households in the US Northeast lacked power on Sunday as a rare October snowstorm bedeviled transportation and killed at least eight people.

The record-breaking snow was heaviest in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, where 31.4 inches (79.7 cm) fell according to the National Weather Service. Northwest of New York City, in West Milford, New Jersey, 19 inches (48 cm) of snow fell.

"It's too scary - the windows are rattling too loud," a terrified Sophia Band, 6, said, her father recalled, during the crushing storm in Conway, Massachusetts overnight.

The snowy, windy weather that began on Saturday was expected to exit Maine later on Sunday, but not before dumping up to a foot (30.5 cm) of snow on northern New England, particularly southern Vermont, the National Weather Service said.

Howling winds and heavy, wet snow snapped enormous trees like twigs, downing power lines from West Virginia to Maine.   By Sunday evening, there were about 3 million households without electricity across the Mid-Atlantic and New England, according to Weather.com.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said the state experienced the largest number of power outages in its history. Most cities in the state opened centers where chilled residents could stay warm. Maine, Massachusetts and New Jersey all said they did not expect service to return to normal for several days, while in Connecticut it could be more than a week. Public school closures were announced for Monday in Connecticut and New Jersey.


Stranded for 13 hours on train

Transit nightmares were reported on planes and trains throughout the storm-struck region.

Some 48 passengers on an Amtrak train bound for Boston were stranded for 13 hours overnight when a rockslide blocked the tracks in central Massachusetts, Amtrak said. They were bussed to their destinations before noon on Sunday.

Other Amtrak service was suspended between Providence, Rhode Island and Boston; New Haven, Connecticut and Springfield, Massachusetts; and Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

New Jersey Transit and Metro-North Railroad suspended service on several lines into New York City on Sunday.

Airports slowly returned to normal service on Sunday, although there were some residual delays due to wind at Newark International Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

JetBlue Airways was investigating reports 126 passengers were stuck for more than seven hours Saturday on the tarmac at Bradley International Airport near Hartford, Connecticut, without food, water or working lavatories. They were aboard Flight 504 from Florida, diverted to Bradley from Newark due to the storm.


At least eight storm-related deaths

Icy roads throughout the Northeast proved deadly, and six people were killed in car accidents.

Two other deaths were blamed on the storm. In Temple, Pennsylvania, an 84-year-old man was killed as he napped in his recliner when a snow-laden tree fell through his home, said a Muhlenberg Township Police Department dispatcher.

In Springfield, Massachusetts, a 20-year-old man was electrocuted when he stepped out of his vehicle and touched an electrified guard rail, a Springfield police spokesman said.

Weather emergencies because of the storm were declared in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.