2:31pm UK, Monday October 31, 2011
At least eight people have been killed and nearly three million homes left without power after a rare early season snowstorm hit the east coast of the US.
Governors declared states of emergency in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and parts of New York as the freak winter storm dumped record-breaking levels of snow after arriving from the Atlantic.
Connecticut’s governor, Dannel Malloy, said the state had experienced the largest number of power outages in its history and emergency centres were opened in most cities.
Maine, Massachusetts and New Jersey all said they did not expect services to return to normal for several days, while in Connecticut it could be more than a week.
The storm was particularly damaging because leaves still on the trees caught more of the particularly wet and heavy snow, snapping overloaded branches.
“You just have absolute tree carnage with this heavy snow just straining the branches,” said National Weather Service spokesman Chris Vaccaro.
In Pennsylvania, an 84-year-old man reportedly died when a tree toppled onto his house while he slept.
Another man was electrocuted by fallen power lines on the side of a road in Springfield.
Residents have been urged to avoid travel altogether with many roads closed and speed limits reduced across affected areas.
A historic October storm is still crushing New England with heavy snow and howling winds.
Meteorologist Meghan Evans
Six people are thought to have been killed in road accidents in the icy conditions.
Forty-eight passengers on an Amtrak train bound for Boston were stranded for 13 hours overnight when a rockslide blocked the tracks in central Massachusetts, the rail operator said.
Other rail services were suspended across the region.
Dozens of planes were grounded as the snowstorm hit but normal service slowly returned on Sunday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
JetBlue Airways was forced to apologise to 126 passengers after they were stuck for more than seven hours on the tarmac at Bradley International Airport near Hartford, Connecticut, without food, water or working lavatories.
The flight from Florida was diverted to Bradley from Newark due to the storm.
Streets were empty in New York as the storm dumped record levels of snow across the city
School districts in the region were forced to cancel or delay the start of lessons on Monday.
The storm blanketed New York city’s Central Park with 3.3cm (1.3in) of snow, breaking an 86-year-old record set on October 30, 1925, of 2.3cm (0.8in).
Saturday was only the fourth snowy October day in New York’s Central Park since record-keeping began 135 years ago.
The snowfall was heaviest in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, where 80cm (31.4in) fell according to the National Weather Service.
Northwest of New York City, in West Milford, New Jersey, 48cm (19in) of snow fell.