* 'Strong storm for October'
* Snowstorm could be record-setting for this time of year
By Lauren Keiper
BOSTON, Oct 29 A rare October snowstorm
barreled up the heavily populated U.S. East Coast on Saturday,
threatening up to a foot (30 cm) of snow, cutting power to
nearly a million households and forcing at least 1,000 flight
Snow was falling from central Pennsylvania well into
Massachusetts after blanketing parts of Virginia, West Virginia
and Maryland earlier in the day, AccuWeather.com said.
The storm brought more than an inch (2.5 cm) of snow to
New York's Central Park, breaking a record that had stood since
1925, AccuWeather.com said. America's most populous city stood
to get 3 to 6 inches (7.6 to 15 cm) of snow before the storm
tapers off on Saturday night, AccuWeather.com senior
meteorologist Alan Reppert said.
Snow also fell in the U.S. capital, Washington.
Widespread power outages caused by snow, ice and falling
trees were reported from the Mid-Atlantic into New England,
leaving hundreds of thousands of customers in the dark.
Major delays were reported at Philadelphia International
Airport and at New York-area airports. At least 1,000 flights
had been canceled, and Teterboro Airport in New Jersey closed
for a period of time, said flight tracking service
The snow posed traffic and parking problems for some
100,000 college football fans attending a game between
Pennsylvania State and the University of Illinois in State
College, Pennsylvania. Snow plows had to clear the field before
"It's a strong storm for October," said AccuWeather.com
senior meteorologist Paul Walker. "We don't usually see storms
this deep and this strong."
The power outages included 287,943 customers reported by
Connecticut Light and Power ; 200,000 by PSE&G in
New Jersey; more than 300,000 by First Energy in
Pennsylvania and New Jersey; more than 50,000 by Consolidated
Edison in New York and more than 66,000 by Allegheny
Power in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
PROTESTERS HUNKER DOWN
In New York City, an encampment of several hundred members
of the Occupy Wall Street movement protesting U.S. economic
inequalities hunkered down in tents against wind, rain, sleet
The storm came a day after the city's fire department,
citing safety hazards, confiscated generators that had been
powering heat, computers and a kitchen in the park in New
York's financial district.
For some in the path of the storm, the big flakes caused
excitement instead of headaches.
"There's almost like an electric buzz when the first snow
falls," said Anna Weltz, communications director for Seven
Springs Mountain Resort, about 60 miles (96 km) southeast of
By early afternoon, 6 inches (15 cm) of snow were already
on the ground at the family ski resort, where phones were
ringing off the hook with people asking about opening day.
"And it's still coming down," said Weltz. "What a sight."
While October snow is not unprecedented, the storm could be
record-setting in terms of snow totals.
Hartford, Connecticut, Allentown, Pennsylvania, and
Worcester, Massachusetts were among the cities that could be
blanketed with up to a foot of snow, forecasters said.
Cities along the East Coast including Allentown, Boston and
New York, typically see their first measurable snowfalls late
November into mid-December, the Weather Channel said.
In Boston, the rain was expected to turn to snow overnight,
bringing up to 4 inches (10 cm), forecasters said.
Wind gusts along the coast could reach 45 miles per hour
(72 kph), forecasters said, adding to the tree limbs and power
lines already expected to be down from the heavy, wet snow.