Early Snow Overloads Autumn Trees

It may be early fall but a big winter storm just hit the northern Plains. Dickinson, N.D., got more than a foot of snow. In town on Thursday, residents had to clear paths to even get to the street.

Donnell Preskey of CBS affiliate KXMB in Bismarck, N.D., reports for The Early Show.

"Looks like a war zone around that neighborhood with all its old trees, and it's just really, really bad," said resident Rod Dowhaniuk.

Yards were more like obstacle courses. Residents were digging around fallen branches. Half of the Dickinsons' trees are severely damaged.

"I've never seen it where it's done so much damage to the trees. It's just incredible," said another resident.

The reason the trees are taking such a hard hit is because it's October and they still have their leaves. The snow is very heavy and the leaves just hold the snow, causing a weight that is too much for them to withstand.

"I just sat there until 1:30 in the morning, listening to the branches fall on the roof and crush the lights, and one of the lights on the wall, and smashed the top of my chimney down," Bob Gruman said.

Some residents have bigger problems.

"I know they're working hard and they're busy," Aaron Gjermundson said. "There's a lot of people that need power. But we do, too."

The power went out in their home at 6:30 Wednesday morning. A wood stove gives them some heat and they're even using it to boil water for tea and to make soup for lunch.

"The room was actually lit up pretty good with candles in the corners, and we're wondering if this was what it was like, you know, during the Revolution or the Civil War when all they had was candles," Gjermundson said.

This October storm sure has a lot of people taking a double take at the calendar. It's still more than two months from winter.