Millions without power after US Northeast snowstorm

BOSTON Mon Oct 31, 2011 12:21pm EDT

A large tree fell on top on cars from the weight of an early snowfall in Worcester, Massachusetts October 30, 2011. REUTERS/Adam Hunger

A large tree fell on top on cars from the weight of an early snowfall in Worcester, Massachusetts October 30, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Adam Hunger

BOSTON (Reuters) - Devastation from the rare and deadly October snowstorm lingered in the Northeast on Monday, leaving 2.2 million houses without power, closing schools, snarling the morning commute and postponing Halloween fun.

The storm that raged from West Virginia to Maine from Saturday until late Sunday was blamed for at least eight deaths, most of them on slippery roads.

Many roads were still barricaded to steer traffic away from downed trees and power lines.

Ghost and goblin decorations were blanketed with record snowfall in many places for October, such as 32 inches (81 cm) measured in the western Massachusetts town of Peru, according to the National Weather Service.

Across the Northeast, more than 2.2 million customers remained without power on Monday morning.

"What a storm, my power is still out!" said a Monday morning Twitter post from U.S. Senator Scott Brown about his Wrentham, Massachusetts, home.

Just 45 minutes northwest of New York City, in West Milford, New Jersey, 19 inches (48 cm) of snow fell.

Despite a sunny Monday, several New Jersey Transit train lines going into New York City remained suspended.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said 100 state roads were closed and about 200 more were partially closed.

Connecticut was particularly hard hit and Malloy called the power outages in his state the worst in history.

In New Jersey, utility PSE&G was relying on help from crews travelling from Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi to help restore power to some of their thousands of customers who were out.

Snow days, usually not tapped until at least after Thanksgiving, were declared by scores of public schools that remained shut throughout the Northeast.

While children were delighted with the surprise long weekend, their parents were advised that because of downed live wires, Halloween trick-or-treat routines should be adjusted so children were home by dark and that an adult should accompany them.

In Worcester, Massachusetts, the city asked parents, schools and neighbours to postpone Halloween celebrations until Thursday, when the weather was expected to be warmer and downed trees and power lines would likely be cleared.

The New Hampshire communities of Manchester and Nashua also put off trick or treating, rescheduling the annual candy collection until Sunday, November 6.

The massive outages includes nearly 750,000 customers still without power on Monday in Connecticut; nearly 525,000 in Massachusetts; more than 360,000 in New Jersey; around 220,000 in Pennsylvania; about 128,000 in New York; just over 200,000 in New Hampshire; about 21,000 in Maine and about 1,700 in Rhode Island.

(Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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