More than 1.6 million still without power after Northeast storm


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A freak October snowstorm played a trick on the Northeast, burying parts of the region under more than two feet of snow, leaving millions without power and putting Halloween plans in doubt.

CNN Wire Service

Parts of New England were expected to hit the low 50s Tuesday, which could be considered balmy to some who braved the freak October snowstorm that dropped more than two feet of snow in some places over the weekend.

But while temperatures are on the rise for parts of the Northeastern United States, millions were still in the dark, dealing with widespread power outages.

More than 1.6 million customers in five states remained without power early Tuesday morning as workers scrambled to get the situation under control. On Monday, officials warned it could be Friday before power is back on everywhere.

At least 13 deaths have been blamed on the weekend storm, which prompted emergency declarations from the governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts, and also canceled Halloween trick-or-treating in some areas.

President Barack Obama signed an emergency declaration for Connecticut on Monday, ordering federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts.

About a dozen Massachusetts cities postponed Halloween celebrations, according to CNN affiliate WGGB.

At least 20 Connecticut cities and towns, including the capital city of Hartford, canceled events or asked parents to wait until later to take their kids trick-or-treating, according to CNN affiliate WFSB. Even Gov. Dannel Malloy and his wife, Cathy, said they will be leaving the lights off.

“No amount of candy is worth a potentially serious or even fatal accident,” the governor said in a statement.

In Worcester, Mass., officials asked residents to postpone celebrations until Thursday, when temperatures are expected to climb to 60 degrees. Trick-or-treating, the city said, would “put families and our youth in harm’s way as they negotiate piles of snow and downed limbs.”

In Springfield, Mass., school officials announced classes would be canceled for the week.

Some of the heaviest snow fell in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, but snowfall amounts of at least a foot were recorded from West Virginia to Maine. The Berkshire County community of Peru, Mass., received 32 inches of snow during the storm.

About 1,300 people were staying in Massachusetts shelters, state officials said on Monday. In Connecticut, 50 shelters were open, Malloy said.

Connecticut power officials said early Tuesday that about 690,000 people were still without power, down from a peak of more than 900,000.

In Massachusetts, state officials said utility crews had come from as far as Louisiana and Texas to help.

About 346,000 people remained without power early Tuesday, according to officials.

Elsewhere, about 127,000 customers were without power in Pennsylvania; nearly 325,000 in New Jersey and 176,000 in New York, according to figures from emergency managers and power companies in those states. Thousands also lost power in New Hampshire, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

As of Monday, authorities reported at least 13 deaths attributed to the storm.

Three people died in Massachusetts, officials said, including a Lunenberg resident who died in a fire and a resident of Hatfield who succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning, apparently from an improperly vented generator.

The third death happened in Springfield when a man in his 20s ignored police barricades surrounding downed power lines and touched a metal guardrail, which was charged, city fire department spokesman Dennis Legere said.

At least four people died in Pennsylvania — two of them in a crash Sunday on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia, CNN affiliate KYW reported. A third death happened in Temple, when an 84-year-old man was resting in his recliner Saturday and part of a large, snow-filled tree fell into his house and killed him, according to a state police report. The fourth death was blamed on carbon monoxide poisoning, after the victim in Lehigh County used a charcoal grill to heat a home, said Ruth Miller, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

Four people also died in New Jersey because of the storm, police said. Two were killed in motor vehicle accidents, one in Bergen County and one in Passaic County, while two others died after trees fell on their cars.

In Connecticut, two people died, including a motorist involved in a traffic accident in Hebron.

CNN’s Marina Landis contributed to this report.