The weather closed some schools New York and Pennsylvania and caused numerous accidents on Interstate 84, which was closed for a time near Port Jervis, where the three state borders meet.
The National Weather Service said snowfall totals by Wednesday morning could range from a few inches in areas south of Buffalo and around Albany to 8 to 12 inches in the Adirondacks and the Tug Hill Plateau north of Syracuse.
In northeastern Pennsylvania, higher elevations in the Poconos got up to 8 inches of wet snow by Tuesday morning, causing downed trees and power lines.
A light snow also hit central New Jersey Tuesday morning, forcing transportation officials to send out salt trucks along the Garden State Parkway and on the New Jersey Turnpike from exits 8 to 11.
"It looked like a mini blizzard in October," said Joe Orlando, spokesman for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. "We're salting the roads and we haven't even gone trick or treating yet."
Schools in New York's rural Delaware, Schoharie and Greene counties southwest of Albany sent students home early and others canceled classes altogether, delayed their start or canceled after school activities. As much as four inches of snow was reported throughout those counties during the morning.
Further south, schools were closed or dismissed early in the mid-Hudson Valley's Sullivan County while wind snapped tree branches and caused scattered power outages across the region by early afternoon. Some 700 customers in the Ulster County town of Highland were without power at noon, according to New York State Electric & Gas.
Wind advisories were also issued Tuesday morning for two Hudson Valley bridges. Light box loads were prohibited on the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge and trucks were required to reduce speed on the Bear Mountain bridge. Caution was advised on other bridges in the region.
Forecasters said winds of 20 to 25 mph would accompany the snow in some areas, with gusts of up to 40 mph.
In New Jersey, the wintry blast continued across the state during the afternoon, with high, chilly winds and some pockets of snow contributing to power outages across the state.
Some higher elevations saw as much as nine inches of snow.
Arrival delays into Newark Liberty International Airport were averaging 2 hours and 41 minutes in the middle of the afternoon because of the wind.
Jersey Central Power & Light reported 60,000 customers without power, most in northern New Jersey. New Jersey's largest utility company, PSE&G, said nearly 7,000 of its customers lost power in scattered outages across the state.
Neither utility was sure when power will be restored.
National Weather Service meteorologist Dean Iovino said Tuesday's temperatures, averaging in the 30's across New Jersey, were well off normal late October highs, which range in the lower 50's and 60's.
"It's something that doesn't happen every year," he said. "It's unusual, but not extremely unusual."
Iovino expected the precipitation to start winding down by Tuesday evening.
A winter weather advisory remained in effect for Sussex County until 4 a.m.
Iovino said the winter blast is coming from a potent storm system working its way through northern Connecticut.
The unexpected wintry weather in Pennsylvania interrupted baseball's fall classic as well. The World Series won't resume until Wednesday night at the earliest.
With rain still falling in Philadelphia, Major League Baseball decided not to attempt to complete Game 5 between the Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night. The game tentatively is scheduled for 8:37 p.m. Wednesday.
Commissioner Bud Selig says officials are watching the forecast closely and will advise fans as soon as possible.
The game was suspended Monday following a 30-minute rain delay with the Phillies and Rays tied 2-2 after 5½ innings. It was the first time a World Series game that began wasn't played to completion on the same day.
Philadelphia leads the Series 3-1 and is hoping to close out its second title, its first since 1980.