Lifestyle & Belief

Winter storm slams US Northeast, cancels Halloween (VIDEO)


An Occupy Wall Street supporter shivers amongst snow-sprinkled tents while the season's first snow falls over Zuccotti Park in New York City on Oct. 29, 2011.



A record winter storm on Halloween eve has been blamed for at least 12 deaths, while more 3.2 million households across the U.S. Northeast are without power and thousands of air travelers are stranded.

Meanwhile, schoolchildren are enjoying "one of the earliest snow days in memory," the Associated Press reports, although the nearly 30 inches of wet snow in some place threatens to disrupt trick-or-treating.

"It's like a blizzard, you can't see far at all," Alban Ajro, 32, told CNN Saturday night from Watertown, Connecticut. "This is the first time that I can ever recall this kind of storm happening before Halloween."

The winter storm, which slammed into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Saturday, smashed record snowfall totals for October, The Guardian reports — a time of year when the region is better known for its colorful fall foliage.

Communities in western Massachusetts were among the hardest hit. Snowfall topped 27 inches in Plainfield, and 26 inches in nearby Windsor.

States of emergency were declared in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and parts of New York.

Acting on the lessons of last year's tough winter on the east coast, "communities from Maine to Maryland" opened shelters, closed roads and suspended regional transit, the AP reports.

Temperatures are expected to begin rising Monday, according to the National Weather Service (NOAA), which described the storm as "historic."

All domestic flights out of New Jersey's Newark International Airport were canceled around 4 p.m. Saturday, while the FAA reported major delays — of up to 5 hours — at New York's two airports, John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia, the AP reports.

Passengers on a JetBlue flight stuck on a plane in Hartford, Connecticut, for more than seven hours Saturday, the Guardian write, adding that roads and railways were blocked.

Local officials canceled Halloween trick-or-treating due to downed power lines or damaged trees. "With so many wires down ... the sidewalks will not be safe for pedestrians [Monday] night," Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton reportedly told The Hartford Courant.