US & Canada

Early snow storm leaves major power outages in US

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Media captionNoam Laden, from WABC Radio, says "all hell has broken loose"

Close to two million homes are still without power after an unseasonable snowstorm hit the US East Coast over the weekend.

The storm, which brought up to 30in (76cm) of snow in parts, has been blamed for as many as 23 deaths.

Power outages in two states exceeded damage wrought by Hurricane Irene.

Schools are closed across the storm's path, with children in the state of Connecticut warned to call off Halloween trick-or-treat plans.

The fatalities include one death in Canada and were caused by traffic accidents, electrocutions and other causes as a result of the snowstorm.

At the storm's height, three million homes were without power, while states of emergency were declared in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and parts of New York.

'War zone'

Some states have warned it could be days or even a week before residents have power again. Crews have been brought in from as far away as Michigan and Canada.

Trees, branches and power lines still littered roads and rail lines throughout the region, making it difficult for many to get to work on Monday.

Thousands of school children in the region were enjoying one of the earliest snow days in memory on Monday.

But officials in Connecticut warned residents to cancel their Halloween trick-or-treat plans.

"With so many wires down... the sidewalks will not be safe for pedestrians [Monday] night," said Mark Boughton, mayor of the city of Danbury. "We have 200 streets with wires down... [we] would hate to have children hurt.''

Early on Monday, about 750,000 households were still without power in Connecticut, where the storm damage was said to have surpassed that wreaked by Hurricane Irene in August.

A motorist in Hartford, Connecticut's capital, told the Associated Press news agency she had spent most of Monday looking for petrol without success.

"There's no gas anywhere," said Debra Palmisano. "It's like we're in a war zone. It's pretty scary, actually."

Image caption The storm broke records for snowfall in October

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whose own house lost power, also declared the damage worse than that from Hurricane Irene.

Among the deaths blamed on the storm were an 84-year-old Pennsylvania man killed by a tree that fell on his home, a person who died in a traffic accident in Connecticut and a 20-year-old man who was electrocuted in Massachusetts.

In New York City, a new record for October snowfall was set on Saturday when 1.3in fell in Central Park.

Only three other snowy October days in the US have been recorded in the park in 135 years of record-keeping.

Most of the Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York's Zuccotti Park saw out the storm.

The storm brought chaos to flights schedules at New York airports, while Amtrak reported massive disruption to train services.

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