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Northeast begins digging out after deadly blizzard

8:17 AM, Feb 10, 2013   |    comments
Tina Khoshaboo clears snow from her car on South Water Street in Greenwich, Conn., on Saturday. (Photo: Bob Luckey, AP)
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Residents of the Northeast are beginning to dig out after a deadly blizzard of historic proportions dumped more than 3 feet of snow and cut power to hundreds of thousands.

About 400,000 homes and businesses remained without power early Sunday, down from a high of 650,000. But utilities in some hard-hit areas, such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island, warned that residents could remain in the dark at least for another day.

In Massachusetts, NStar utility said it was too dangerous to send in crews in many areas. National Guard troops helped evacuate coastal areas where there was some flooding.

Municipal workers from New York to Boston labored through the night Saturday in snow-bound communities.

"We've never seen anything like this," said Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone of Long Island, which got more than 2½ feet of snow.

The storm is blamed for at least eight deaths, three in Canada and five in the USA.

In Connecticut, a 73-year-old man died when he fell while cleaning up and a woman in her 80s was struck and killed Friday by a hit-run driver. A 74-year-old man died after being struck by a car in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; the driver said she lost control in the snowy conditions, police said. A second New Yorker, 23, died when a tractor he was using to plow his driveway went off the edge of the road. And, in Boston, an 11-year-old boy died when he was overcome by carbon monoxide in a running car that his father was digging out of a snow bank.

Roads across the Northeast were impassable and cars were entombed by snow drifts on Saturday. Some people found the snow packed so high against their homes they couldn't get their doors open.

"It's like lifting cement. They say it's 2 feet, but I think it's more like 3 feet," said Michael Levesque, who was shoveling snow in Quincy, Mass., for a landscaping company.

Across much of New England, streets were empty of cars and dotted instead with children who had never seen so much snow and were jumping into snow banks and making forts. Snow was waist-high in the streets of Boston. Plows made some thoroughfares passable but piled even more snow on cars parked on the city's narrow streets.

Hurricane-force winds and history-making snowfalls combined to spread misery from New Jersey to Maine. Winds gusted to 76 mph at Boston's Logan airport and 84 mph in Cuttyhunk, Mass., during the height of the storm Saturday. The storm piled the most snow on Hamden, Conn. -- 40 inches -- and was the fifth largest in Boston history, with 24.9 inches of snow recorded there.

The 31.9 inches in Portland, Maine, is the most ever recorded there from a single snowstorm; the storm was the second biggest for Hartford, Conn. (22.8 inches) and Concord, N.H. (24 inches), and third biggest in Worcester, Mass. (28.7 inches).

More than 6,600 flights in North America have been canceled, according to flight-tracking service FlightStats.

Amtrak said trains between New York and Boston were suspended Saturday but some trains would run Sunday.

The storm, dubbed "Nemo" by the Weather Channel, was not as bad as some of the forecasts led many to fear, and not as dire as the Blizzard of '78, used by longtime New Englanders as the benchmark by which all other winter storms are measured.

Contributing: Melanie Eversley, Ben Mutzabaugh, Stephanie Haven; Alesha Williams, Laura Petrecca, Natalie DiBlasio, TIm Mullaney; Associated Press

Gary Strauss, Doyle Rice and Kevin McCoy, USA TODAY

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