Restoring power in Northeast could take days – CBS News

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                                                                                                                              Workers from the Connecticut Department of Transportation and Connecticut Light & Power work on downed power lines on Route 5 in South Windsor, Conn., Monday, Oct. 31, 2011. The unseasonably early nor’easter had utility companies struggling to restore electricity to more than 3 million homes and businesses in several states, including more than 800,000 customers in Connecticut alone. By early Monday, the number of customers without power was still above 2 million but falling. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

(CBS/AP)

Residents across the Northeast faced the prospect of days without electricity or heat Monday after an early-season storm dumped as much as 30 inches of wet, heavy snow that snapped trees and power lines, closed hundreds of schools, and disrupted plans for Halloween trick-or-treating.

The early nor’easter had utility companies struggling to restore electricity to more than 3 million homes and businesses. By early Monday, the number without power was still above 2 million but falling. But officials in some states warned it could be days or even a week before residents have power again.

Roads were closed, shelters were opened, and regional transit was suspended or delayed. But the storm’s lingering effects – including power failures and hundreds of closed schools – will probably outlast the snow. Temperatures are expected to begin rising Monday and the snow will start melting, the National Weather Service said.

The snowstorm was blamed for at least 12 deaths, mostly caused by falling trees, traffic accidents or electrocutions. Six people died in Pennsylvania alone.

Motorists wait in line for gas at a rest area on the Massachusetts Turnpike eastbound in Charlton, Mass., Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011.

(Credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Trees, branches and power lines still littered roads and rail lines, leading to a tough Monday morning commute for many. Motorists hunted for open gas stations as power failures rendered pumps inoperable.

At a 7-Eleven in Hartford, two dozen cars waited early Monday in a line that stretched into the street and disrupted traffic.

“There’s no gas anywhere,” said Debra Palmisano, of Plainville, who spent most of the morning looking around the capital city. “It’s like we’re in a war zone. It’s pretty scary, actually.”

Some local officials canceled or postponed Halloween activities, fearful that young trick-or-treaters could wander into areas with downed power lines or trees ready to topple over.

“With so many wires down … the sidewalks will not be safe for pedestrians (Monday) night,” Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton told The Hartford Courant.

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Restoring power in Northeast could take days – CBS News.

Click here for the Why, What and How of Your Emergency Preparedness, Survival gear, freeze dried food, bug out bags, camping gear and apparel, gold and silver, finances, solar back up, conventional electrical back up power generators.

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