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Early, wet snowfall pelts East Coast

City workers Patrick Zeh, left, and Dave Contreras tend to a hanging branch from a snowstorm in Larchmont, N.Y. About 1.7 million customers lost power from Maryland to Massachusetts.

Associated Press

City workers Patrick Zeh, left, and Dave Contreras tend to a hanging branch from a snowstorm in Larchmont, N.Y. About 1.7 million customers lost power from Maryland to Massachusetts.

An unusually early and powerful nor'easter dumped several inches of wet, heavy snow Saturday on parts of the mid Atlantic region, and it weighed down or toppled leafy trees and power lines as the storm headed toward New England.

More than 1.7 million customers lost power from Maryland through Massachusetts, and utilities were bringing in crews from other states to help restore it. Half a million in New Jersey were without power, including Gov. Chris Christie, and almost as many were in the dark in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. New Jersey and Connecticut declared states of emergencies.

The National Weather Service said Saturday night a foot of snow had fallen in Harriman and 10 inches in Armonk in New York state, while West Milford, N.J., clocked in at 15.5 inches and Ridgefield, Conn., had 10 inches. Six to 12 inches were expected in the Catskills, and three to six inches around Albany, N.Y.

Three deaths were blamed on the weather: an 84-year-old man killed Saturday afternoon when a snow-laden tree fell on his home in southeastern Pennsylvania; one person killed in a Colchester, Conn., traffic accident blamed on icy conditions; and a 20-year-old man who was electrocuted in Springfield, Mass., by a downed power line.

The heaviest snowfall was forecast for late Saturday and into today in the Massachusetts Berkshires, the Litchfield Hills in northwestern Connecticut, southwestern New Hampshire and the southern Green Mountains.

Several airports had hourslong delays Saturday, including Philadelphia's and two that serve New York City, Newark Liberty and Kennedy. The smaller airport in Teterboro, N.J., was briefly closed. Amtrak suspended service between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa., and commuter trains in Connecticut and New York were delayed or suspended.

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.

October snowfall is rare in New York; there had been just three October days with measurable snowfall in Central Park since recordkeeping began 135 years ago, according to the National Weather Service. The fourth came Saturday, when about 1.3 inches fell by mid afternoon, a record snowfall total for October and the date itself.

Delays at TIA

The storm hitting the Northeast this weekend is affecting some travelers in Tampa. The region's first storm of the season caused five flight cancellations at Tampa International Airport Saturday, TIA spokeswoman Janet Zink said. The flights were all headed to airports in New York City. As of late Saturday afternoon, almost a dozen more flights to airports throughout the Northeast were delayed, Zink said.

Shelley Rossetter,

Times staff writer

Early, wet snowfall pelts East Coast 10/29/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 29, 2011 11:32pm]

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