NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A rare October snowstorm wreaked havoc across the Tri-State Area Saturday, causing mass transit delays, treacherous road conditions, and power outages for hundreds of thousands of customers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
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Heavy snow fell across most of the Northeast Saturday as part of a rare, record-breaking October storm that dumped up to 12 inches of snow in parts of the region. In response, both Governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie, who told CBS 2HD he lost power during the snowstorm, both declared states of emergency.
New York’s declaration applies to Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Delaware, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Richmond, Rensselaer, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester counties.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday night that by declaring a state of emergency, he can direct resources to the counties hardest-hit by the storm. The declaration also gives him authority to suspend rules and regulations that would impede recovery.
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In New York City, records were broken after 1.3 inches of snow accumulated in Central Park as of 2 p.m., setting the mark not only for the day, but also for the month of October. Since snowfall records began in 1869, an inch of snow had never been recorded in the month of October.
The last two times that measurable snow fell in the month of October was October 21, 1952 with 0.5 inches, and October 30, 1925 with 0.8 inches.
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Records were also broken in Newark, which recorded 2.7 inches of snow as of 4:30 p.m.
The snowstorm led to power outages for nearly 580,000 customers along the East Coast. The customers without power in the Tri-State break down as follows:
Con Ed: 68,480 on Staten Island, 39 in Brooklyn, 93 in Queens, 7,663 in the Bronx, zero in Manhattan, 47,966 in Westchester
LIPA: 2,098 in Suffolk County, 263 in Nassau County, zero in Rockaway Peninsula
Orange and Rockland County: 52,417
Connecticut Light and Power: 418,831
Tree limbs snapped off from the weight of the wet snow and took down power lines.
“I’ve got a coat on, scarf, shoes that are lined with fur – it’s very, very cold today,” Bloomfield homeowner Cindy Devenney told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.READ MORE: Nassau County Expands Summer Youth Employment Program
“Yeah you can hear them, stand out for ten minutes, and you see one come down, so you got to watch what’s happening, try to clean up and stay in when you can,” said homeowner Anthony Nole.
Nole lives on West Passaic Avenue, an obstacle course of downed lines, and fallen limbs. One punctured the roof of a neighbor’s car.
“And it’s very frightening, as I’m speaking with you and you hear the branches cracking, and they’re constantly falling,” said homeowner Cynthia Madric.
The Bloomfield Fire Department spent Saturday blocking off dangerous streets.
“There’s a lot of old trees here. These are big old oaks, and there’s a lot of weight on that snow,” Fire Captain Steve Motzer said.
The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for New York City until 2 a.m., with forecasters calling for 2-7 inches of snow in the city, and 8-12 inches in the outer suburbs. Portions of New Jersey could see up to a foot of snow as well.
There is also a high wind watch for Long Island Saturday night.
Rain may briefly mix in with the snow when precipitation lightens. Extremely dangerous travel conditions will continue with snow covered roads and visibilities reduced to 1/4 mile or less at times.
Winds will also be increasing through the evening hours to 20 to 30 mph with gusts 40 to 55 mph, highest closer to the coast. The combination of strong winds and heavy wet snow on trees with partial or full foliage will continue to produce widespread damage and power outages.
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Saturday night will be very cold with some snow early and then skies will clear up late. Temperatures will also drop into the 30s.
Forecasters say motorists should expect slippery travel throughout Saturday and into Sunday morning. The New York City Office of Emergency Management has issued a Hazardous Travel Advisory for Saturday. NJ TRANSIT and the MTA have also advised customers to take extra care and caution when traveling.
Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy declared a state of emergency Saturday and warned residents to stay off roadways. Malloy also said there was one storm-related fatality.
Mitch Gross, spokesman for Connecticut Light and Power, says CL&P will likely not be able to rely on assistance from out-of-state crews as they will be tied up restoring power in their home states from this very same storm.
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