News on the October Nor'easter
From the Wall Street Journal:
Early Snow Pelts East Coast, Cuts Power to 2.3 Million Homes
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- An unusually early and powerful storm dumped wet, heavy snow Saturday along the East Coast, knocking out electricity to more than 2 million homes and businesses and causing the deaths of at least three people.
Communities inland were getting hit hardest, with eastern Pennsylvania serving as the center of the storm. Parts of New Jersey and Massachusetts got over 14 inches of snow. New York City's Central Park set a record for both the date and the month of October with 1.3 inches of snow.
More than 2.3 million customers lost power, and utilities were bringing in crews from other states to help restore it. More than half a million residents in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut were without power, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. By late Saturday, the storm had vacated most of Pennsylvania and was tracking northeast.
Throughout the region, officials had warned that the early storm would bring sticky snow on the heels of the week's warmer weather and could create dangerous conditions. New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts declared states of emergencies, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for 13 counties. At least three deaths have been blamed on the storm.
The storm was expected to worsen as it swept north. Wind gusts of up to 55 mph were predicted especially along coastal areas.
Some said that even though they knew a storm was coming, the severity caught them by surprise.
The storm disrupted travel along the East Coast. Philadelphia International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport all had hourslong delays Saturday. Commuter trains in Connecticut and New York were delayed or suspended because of downed trees and signal problems.
Residents were urged to avoid travel altogether. Speed limits were reduced on bridges between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. A few roads closed because of accidents and downed trees and power lines, and more were expected, said Sean Brown, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
The storm came on a busy weekend for many, with children going door-to-door in search of Halloween booty, hunting season opening in some states and a full slate of college and pro football scheduled.
In eastern Pennsylvania, snow caused widespread problems. It toppled trees and a few power lines and led to minor traffic accidents, according to dispatchers.
The last major widespread snowstorm to hit Pennsylvania this early was in 1972, said John LaCorte, a National Weather Service meteorologist in State College.
In southeastern Pennsylvania, an 84-year-old man was killed when a snow-laden tree fell on his home while he was napping in his recliner. Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says one person died in a Colchester traffic accident that he blamed on slippery conditions.
In Massachusetts, a 20-year-old man died in Springfield after being electrocuted by a power line downed by high winds and wet, heavy snow. Capt. William Collins says the man stopped when he saw police and firefighters examining downed wires and stepped in the wrong place.
Parts of New York saw a mix of snow, rain and slush that made for sheer misery at the Occupy Wall Street encampment in New York City, where drenched protesters hunkered down in tents and under tarps as the plaza filled with rainwater and melted snow.
Technically, tents are banned in the park, but protesters say authorities have been looking the other way, even despite a crackdown on generators that were keeping them warm.
"I want to thank the New York Police Department," said 32-year-old protester Sam McBee, decked out in a yellow slicker and rain pants. "We're not supposed to have tents. We're not supposed to have sleeping bags. You go to Atlanta, they don't have it. You go to Oakland, you don't have it. And we got it."
October snowfall is rare in New York, and Saturday marked just the fourth October day with measurable snowfall in Central Park since record-keeping began 135 years ago, the National Weather Service said.