October 30, 2011 / 5:01 AM / 8 years ago

Rare October snowstorm slams U.S. Northeast

* A foot (30 cm) of snow expected in some areas

* Unseasonable storm breaks records in some areas

* Scores of airline flights delayed

By Lauren Keiper

BOSTON, Oct 30 (Reuters) - A rare October snowstorm barreled up the U.S. East Coast on Saturday, cutting power to more than two million households, forcing cancellation of scores of airline flights and causing at least three deaths.

New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts declared weather emergencies because of the storm.

“We are expecting the snow to continue to fall from New York City through Maine. By tomorrow morning it should be pretty much wrapped up across most areas,” said AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist Alan Reppert.

Slippery conditions on a roadway caused the crash and death of a man driving in Colchester, Connecticut, said Scott Devico, a spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Emergency Management.

In Temple, Pennsylvania, an 84-year-old man was killed when a snow-caked tree fell through his home, said a Muhlenberg Township Police Department dispatcher.

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

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.

While October snow is not unprecedented, this storm could be record-setting in terms of snow totals.

The unseasonably early storm broke a snow record that had stood since 1925 for New York’s Central Park, AccuWeather.com said. New York City was expected to end up with three to six inches (7.5-15 cm) of snow before the storm tapers off on Saturday night, 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 millions of customers in the dark.

In some areas, the outages exceeded those caused by Hurricane Irene, which left some 5 million customers in the dark when it struck the East Coast at the end of August.

The power outages included 606,388 customers reported by Connecticut Light and Power ; 214,000 by PPL Electric Utilities in Pennsylvania; 341,000 without power from PSE&G in New Jersey; more than 300,000 by First Energy in Pennsylvania and New Jersey; more than 77,000 by Con Edison in New York and more than 66,000 by Allegheny Power in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Another 205,890 customers of National Grid in Massachusetts and New York were without power and 17,467 customers reported by The United Illuminating Company in Connecticut.

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 FlightAware.com.

In Connecticut, Governor Dannel Malloy ordered non-emergency vehicles off the Wilbur Cross and Merritt Parkways due to dangerous driving conditions.

“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.”


In New York City, the snow and cold tested the resolve of Occupy Wall Street members protesting U.S. economic inequality.

Buffeted by strong winds, the protesters hunkered down in their tents from sleet and snow in a park in Manhattan’s financial district, where the movement first set up camp six weeks ago, sparking dozens of similar occupations in city parks across the United States.

“We knew this would be tough. We didn’t start this as a sort of summer of love, it’s the winter of discontent,” said Alan Collinge, 41, from Seattle, as he poked his head out of a tent.

The storm came a day after the New York Fire Department, citing safety hazards, confiscated generators that had been powering heat, computers and a kitchen in the park.

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 Pittsburgh.

Hartford, Connecticut, Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Worcester, Massachusetts were among the cities that could be blanketed with up to a foot (30 cm) 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.

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below