13 dead, 1.6 mn without power after freak snowstorm in US (Lead)November 1st, 2011 - 8:09 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Nov 1 (IANS) More than 1.6 million people in five states in northeastern United States remained without power Tuesday morning three days after a freak snow storm over the weekend that claimed at least 13 lives.
The governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts declared an emergency Monday as workers scrambled to get the situation under control, but officials warned it could be Friday before power is back on everywhere.
President Barack Obama signed an emergency declaration for Connecticut Monday, ordering federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts.
Heavy, wet snow fell across the region, snapping trees still bearing leaves and cutting power lines. Widespread power cuts were reported in the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
The snowstorm smashed record snowfall totals for October.
Washington was largely spared by the snowstorm, but thousands of people in its suburbs in Maryland and Virginia surrounding the national capital lost power.
About a dozen Massachusetts cities postponed Halloween trick-or-treat celebrations, while at least 20 Connecticut cities and towns, including the capital city of Hartford, cancelled events, CNN reported.
Some of the heaviest snow fell in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, but snowfall amounts of at least a foot were recorded from West Virginia to Maine. The Berkshire County community of Peru, Massachusetts, received 32 inches of snow during the storm.
About 1,300 people were staying in Massachusetts shelters, state officials said on Monday. In Connecticut, 50 shelters were open.
Connecticut power officials said early Tuesday that about 690,000 people were still without power, down from a peak of more than 900,000.
In Massachusetts, about 346,000 people remained without power early Tuesday, according to officials. Utility crews had come from as far as Louisiana and Texas to help, they said.
Elsewhere, about 127,000 people were without power in Pennsylvania; nearly 325,000 in New Jersey and 176,000 in New York, according to figures from emergency managers and power companies in those states.
CNN, citing officials, said four people each died in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, three in Massachusetts and two in Connecticut.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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