Record Snowfall Socks New York, Storm Leaves 1.7M Powerless


A rare October snowstorm took the Northeast by surprise today, setting a snowfall record in New York City and leaving half a million people across the region without power.

By 2 p.m., New York City had broken an October snow record with 1.3 inches recorded in Central Park, the National Weather Service said. The previous October record was set on Oct. 30, 1925, with 0.8 inches.

Parts of Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts were also expected to set October records after the Nor’easter blows through.

More than 1.7 million customers lost power from Maryland north through Massachusetts, and utilities were bringing in crews from other states to help restore it. 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.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie said 500,000 people lost power. New York’s utility, Consolidated Edison, said more than 58,000 customers were in the dark. About 35,000 of those outages are in Westchester County, just north of New York City. In Connecticut, at least 320,000 people were without electricity.

Communities inland were getting hit hardest, with eastern Pennsylvania serving as the bull’s-eye for the storm, said National Weather Service spokesman Chris Vaccaro. Some places got more than half a foot of snow, and towns near the Maryland-Pennsylvania border saw 10 inches fall.

Snow and freezing rain fell steadily today, and the National Weather Service said the heaviest snowfall amounts “are forecast to fall in a band from extreme northern Maryland northeastward through New Jersey and western Massachusetts into eastern Maine.”

Boston was bracing for about three inches by early tomorrow.

The early-season Nor’easter disrupted air and road travel. The travel website said more than 1,000 flights were canceled in the US Saturday, with passengers left stranded due to weather and a labor dispute that grounded Australia’s Qantas Airlines.

Heavy delays were reported at John F. Kennedy airport in New York and at Philadelphia International airport. Arriving flights at Newark-Liberty International airport were delayed by an average of more than six hours.

Travel on the roads was also proving treacherous and local officials urged people to stay home. In Connecticut, Gov. Danell Malloy banned all non-emergency vehicles on the Merritt Parkway, a heavily-traveled highway in southwestern Connecticut.

The New York City Sanitation Department said it had readied salt spreaders, plows and snow staff earlier this season than it has in 40 years.

Last year, the sanitation department paid out more than $75.5 million for snow cleanup following a string of blizzards and heavy snow storms. The city’s snow removal budget was about $39 million.

According to the Weather Channel, snow usually arrives in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia in mid-December, while Boston does not usually see its first snowfall until late November.

(Source: NY Post)