More Than 2M Without Power After U.S. Snow

More than 2 million homes and businesses remained without power in the U.S. Northeast two days after the biggest October snowstorm in decades.

Customers in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey lacked electricity after a record snowfall that began on Oct. 29 brought down trees and downed power lines. At the peak, more than 3 million customers lost power, according to utility websites.

Connecticut Light & Power, a unit of Northeast Utilities (NU), said 739,998, or 59 percent, of its customers were still affected by the storm today. A record 20.3 inches (52 centimeters) of snow fell on Hartford, Connecticut, over two days, the National Weather Service reported. The power failure hit almost 770,000 CL&P customers, surpassing the peak caused by Hurricane Irene two months ago, the company said.

“Tree damage was five times worse than Irene,” Jeffrey D. Butler, chief operating officer of CL&P, said at a Hartford news conference late yesterday. “We anticipate some of our customers will be out a week or more.”

The storm dumped wet, heavy snow from West Virginia to Maine on trees that hadn’t yet shed their leaves, causing branches to break and bring down power lines. Thousands of schoolchildren in the Northeast got the day off as fallen branches blocked roads and rail lines.

New York Snow

New York City received 2.9 inches, the biggest October snowfall since records were first kept in 1869. Before yesterday, the city hadn’t received as much as an inch during October since the 19th century.

Consolidated Edison Inc. (ED) and CH Energy Group Inc. (CHG) reported about 141,000 customers blacked out in New York City, Westchester County and the lower Hudson Valley of New York.

About 169,000 customers of Newark, New Jersey-based Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (PEG) were without power as of 4 a.m. local time, according to the company. NJ Transit said service on two train lines, Morris and Essex, was suspended because of downed trees and overhead wires.

Tree damage in New Jersey was worse than Irene, Republican Governor Chris Christie said today on radio station WINS. Full power restoration may take several days for the estimated 388,000 customers without electricity, Christie said.

Amtrak resumed service yesterday between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Trains weren’t running between Washington and Pittsburgh, Albany and Boston, and into Vermont, the company said in statement yesterday.

Historic Storm

The storm was historic for both its timing and the amount of snow, said Kristina Pydynowski, a meteorologist for Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. The system brought rain, snow and winds of 69 miles-an-hour (111 kilometers per hour).

Numerous snowfall records were set, Pydynowski said in a phone interview yesterday.

“We know of at least 20 cities that set records from this storm, and there were likely many more set in small towns,” she said.

The storm caused 923 flights to be canceled Oct. 29, according to New York’s three area airports and Boston’s Logan International Airport reported 11 cancellations today.

Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene, which cut a similar path across the Northeast in August, knocked out power to as many as 6.69 million people at its peak, according to U.S. Energy Department estimates.

AccuWeather said the storm dropped the most snow on the Northeast this month since 1979.

According to the National Weather Service, Plainfield, Massachusetts, about 100 miles west of Boston received 30.8 inches of snow. Jaffrey, New Hampshire, got 31.4 inches, according to the weather service.

The Associated Press reported at least 12 deaths blamed on the weather, including an 84-year-old Pennsylvania man killed when a snow-covered tree limb fell on his home.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dan Hart in Washington at; Jim Polson in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at

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