Three people were killed and nearly three million left without power as the eastern United States was hit by a record breaking October snowstorm.
By Nick Allen, Los Angeles
States of emergency were declared in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and parts of New York as icy, gusting winds brought down tree limbs and power lines from West Virginia to Massachusetts.
Those without power were warned it could be days before their electricity was restored.
The unseasonably early winter storm, known as a “nor’easter” due to its north-easterly movement, was being called “Snowtober” and affected up to 60 million people.
It broke an October snow record that had stood since 1969 for New York’s Central Park which was blanketed in 2.9 inches of snow. It was the first time the park had seen more than an inch of snow before Halloween.
In West Milford, New Jersey, about 45 miles northwest of New York City, 19 inches of snow fell. The heaviest snowfall of 27.8 inches was recorded in Plainfield, Massachusetts.
Major delays were reported at airports in cities including New York and Philadelphia with at least 1,000 flights being cancelled.
The dead included an 84-year-old man in Pennsylvania who was killed when a snow-laden tree fell on his home, and a 20-year-old man in Massachusetts who was electrocuted by a downed power line.
Declaring a state of emergency New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said 600,000 customers were without power in his state and he urged residents to “stay safe and off the roads” as it was hit by winds of 60mph.
Mr Christie said: “We expect the number is going to continue to go up before it goes back down. The problem is that there are trees just down everywhere because of the snow, the wet, heavy snow.”
More than 265,000 people were without power in New York state, more than 750,000 in Connecticut, nearly 400,000 in Pennsylvania, 226,000 in Massachusetts and 61,000 in New Hampshire.
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said: “This is the largest number of power outages that we have ever experienced. Some people could be without power for as much as a week.”
The National Weather Service said unseasonably cold air was pouring into the northeastern United States.
Meteorologist Meghan Evans on Accuweather.com said: “A historic October storm is still crushing New England with heavy snow and howling winds.”
In New York the blanket of snow, rain and slush brought misery to the Occupy Wall Street encampment where drenched protesters hunkered down in tents in a park in the financial district.
Adash Daniel, 24, a protester leaving the camp because of the conditions, said: “I’m not much good to this movement if I’m shivering.”