Monday, October 31, 2011

OOPS!!! It's a good thing global warming will prevent this stuff from happening in the winter. Now it happens before the leaves fall...

'It was like a bomb went off': Central Park left devastated by snow storm with worst damage for 27 years as fears East Coast blackout could last a WEEK

A record 2.9 inches fell in Central Park in only the fourth snowy October day since records began 135 years ago

Massive damage thought to have been caused by leaves still on trees keeping snow weighing down on branches

The number of homes without power has grown to over three million

By John Stevens

As many as 1,000 trees were destroyed by the snow storm in Central Park it was revealed as three million homes without electricity were warned the blackout could last for a week.

Park officials said that the unprecedented damage spread across half of the park's 840 acres was the worst they had seen in 27 years after a record 2.9 inches of snow fell on Saturday.

Even though the storm was relatively mild in compared to those in the midst of winter, the massive damage is thought to have been caused by leaves still on the trees keeping snow weighing down on branches.

'It's like a bomb blew off,' Central Park Conservancy president Douglas Blonsky told the New York Times. 'Boom.'

The milder temperatures, which stayed close to freezing, but not well below, meant that the snow was damper and heavier, meaning that it brought extra pressure on the trees.

In the park trees of all ages and sizes were among the nearly 1,000 felled by the early snow storm.

By comparison only 125 trees were destroyed when Tropical Storm Irene passed through in August.

Saturday was only the fourth snowy October day in New York's Central Park since record-keeping began 135 years ago.

Across the road at one of New York's most luxurious hotels, The Plaza, all the trees were destroyed.

The number of homes and businesses without power on the East Coast has grown to more than 3 million.

From Maryland to Maine, officials said it would take days to restore electricity, even though the snow ended on Sunday.
The storm smashed record snowfall totals for October and worsened as it moved north.

Communities in western Massachusetts were among the hardest hit. Snowfall totals topped 27 inches in Plainfield, and nearby Windsor had gotten 26 inches by early Sunday.

It was blamed for at least 11 deaths, and states of emergency were declared in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and parts of New York.

More than 800,000 power customers were without electricity in Connecticut alone — shattering the record set just two months ago by Hurricane Irene. Massachusetts had more than 600,000 outages, and so did New Jersey - including Gov. Chris Christie's house.

Parts of Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New York, Maine, Maryland and Vermont also were without power.

'It's going to be a more difficult situation than we experienced in Irene,' Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said. 'We are expecting extensive and long-term power outages.'

Thirty-two shelters were open around the state, and Malloy asked volunteer fire departments to allow people in for warmth and showers. At least four hospitals were relying on generators for power.

Around Newtown in western Connecticut, trees were so laden with snow on some back roads that the branches touched the street. Every few minutes, a snap filled the air as one broke and tumbled down. Roads that were plowed became impassible because the trees were falling so fast.

Many of the areas hit by the storm had also been hit by Irene.
Vaccaro, the weather service spokesman, said the snowstorm 'absolutely crushed previous records that in some cases dated back more than 100 years.'

There usually isn't enough cold air in the region to support a nor'easter this time of year, but an area of high pressure over southeastern Canada funneled cold air south into the U.S., Vaccaro said.

That cold air combined with moisture coming from the North Carolina coast to produce the unseasonable weather.
A few businesses enjoyed the early snow - ski resorts in Vermont and Maine opened early. But it was more commonly an aggravation.

Many residents were urged to avoid travel altogether. Speed limits were reduced on bridges between New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

A few roads closed because of accidents and downed trees and power lines, said Sean Brown, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Five people died in Pennsylvania because of the storm, two each in car accidents in suburban Philadelphia.

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