NJ Gov: Oct. snow worse to utilities than Irene

Othello Smith of Morris Twp, N.J. shovels snow away from his driveway after branches of a tree were taken down by the weight of a heavy snow blocking one lane of E. Hanover Avenue Saturday Oct. 29, 2011.
Bob Karp,AP Photo/Daily Record

SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn. - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said the damage to utilities in his state by an October snowstorm is worse than the destruction caused by Hurricane Irene in August.

The state still has around 400,000 people without power early Monday. Across the Northeast, more than 2 million are in the dark after the storm dumped anywhere from a trace of snow to 30 inches from Maryland to Maine.

Records were set in New York City where 2.9 inches of snow fell in Central Park. They'd never measured even an inch here on any October day since 1869. Concord, N.H., got 13.6 inches, which broke a 59-year-old record; Bristol, Conn., got 17 inches of snow; and Plainfield, Mass., more than 30 inches.

The National Weather Service said Northeasterners shouldn't necessarily fear a repeat of the hard winters of the past two years.

Aaron Tyburski is a meteorologist in State College, Pa. He says "the first one we get this season isn't likely to change anything" in the long term.

He says that "while it is quite an event, we may go the next month and not get any snow." But he notes that models do indicate a chance of above-normal precipitation later in the season.

New Jersey remains under a state of emergency days after the snowstorm left behind a path of downed trees and power lines.

Speaking on New York radio station WCBS Monday, Christie urged people to have patience while over 1,000 utility crews remove downed trees and repair damaged power lines.

The governor said he'll get a progress report on repairs from utility executives and will have an update later Monday.

Christie and his family lost power at their Mendham home on Saturday and it was restored by 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

The governor said the Transportation Department has 1,200 plows and sanders keeping roads open.