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Neighbors help each other in aftermath of October snowstorm

By David Ariosto, CNN
updated 11:01 PM EDT, Tue November 1, 2011
More than 1.7 million people are without power after last weekend's snow storm.
More than 1.7 million people are without power after last weekend's snow storm.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: About 195,000 New Jersey residents remain without power
  • About 612,000 Connecticut residents still have no electricity
  • Trick-or-treat postponements spread through the Northeast
  • The death toll from the storm is now at 15

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New York (CNN) -- New Jersey resident Becky Fisher said Tuesday that she's counting the favors she'll now owe her neighbors after a powerful snowstorm left her family and more than a million others without power across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

Fisher, along with her husband and their 6-month-old daughter, have been camped out at a neighbor's house in Maplewood, New Jersey, since the weekend storm coated her home in snow and knocked down trees and power lines across the region.

"There are just pockets of those who have electricity," Fisher said. "So we're using our neighbors' goodwill.

"We'll owe them lots."

Fisher said they first lost power Saturday and were forced to relocate to her neighbor's house the following night as temperatures dropped to just above freezing.

Fisher said that while she and her husband are accustomed to cold weather, they didn't want to risk it with their child.

"Every time I call (the state's utility provider), they say the ticket's open," she said. "Initially the message (of when power would be restored) was for Wednesday night, then Thursday, and now maybe Friday.

"Luckily, we have nice neighbors," she added.

By Tuesday evening, about 195,000 New Jersey residents remained without power.

Meanwhile, temperatures in parts of New England were expected to hit the low 50s Tuesday, which could be considered balmy to some who braved the October snowstorm that dropped more than 2 feet of snow in some places over the weekend.

But while temperatures are on the rise for parts of the Northeastern United States, more than 1 million residents were still in the dark, dealing with widespread power outages.

On Monday, officials warned it could be Friday before power is back on everywhere.

At least 15 deaths have been blamed on the weekend storm, which prompted emergency declarations from the governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts, and also canceled Halloween trick-or-treating in some areas.

President Barack Obama signed an emergency declaration for Connecticut Monday, ordering federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts.

Gov. Dannel Malloy on Tuesday said he was not satisfied by the number of crews coming from out of state, CNN Hartford affiliate WFSB reported.

By Tuesday evening, about 612,000 Connecticut residents remained without power, down from a peak of 830,000, according to the state utility company. More than 900 crews were restoring electricity.

About a dozen Massachusetts cities postponed Halloween celebrations, according to CNN affiliate WGGB.

At least 20 Connecticut cities and towns, including the capital, Hartford, canceled events or asked parents to wait until later to take their kids trick-or-treating, according to CNN affiliate WFSB.

Malloy and his wife, Cathy, said they will be leaving the lights off.

"No amount of candy is worth a potentially serious or even fatal accident," the governor said in a statement.

In Worcester, Massachusetts, officials asked residents to postpone Halloween celebrations until Thursday, when temperatures are expected to climb to 60 degrees. Trick-or-treating, the city said, would "put families and our youth in harm's way as they negotiate piles of snow and downed limbs."

In Springfield, Massachusetts, school officials announced classes would be canceled for the week.

Some of the heaviest snow fell in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, but snowfall amounts of at least a foot were recorded from West Virginia to Maine. The Berkshire County community of Peru, Massachusetts, received 32 inches of snow during the storm.

In Massachusetts, state officials said utility crews had come from as far as Louisiana and Texas to help.

About 256,000 people remained without power Tuesday evening, according to officials.

Elsewhere, about 77,000 customers were without power in Pennsylvania. Thousands also lost power in New Hampshire, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, according to figures from emergency managers and power companies in those states. About 128,000 were affected in New York.

As of Monday, authorities reported at least 15 deaths blamed on the storm.

Three people died in Massachusetts, officials said, including a Lunenberg resident who died in a fire and a resident of Hatfield who succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning, apparently from an improperly vented generator.

The third death happened in Springfield when a man in his 20s ignored police barricades surrounding downed power lines and touched a metal guardrail, which was charged, city fire department spokesman Dennis Legere said.

Four people also died in New Jersey because of the storm, police said. Two were killed in motor vehicle accidents, one in Bergen County and one in Passaic County, while two others died after trees fell on their cars.

In Connecticut, four people died, officials said. They included one person who died in a traffic accident in Hebron, a second who died in an accident on Interstate 91 in Hartford, one who died in an ATV accident in Enfield and one who died of carbon monoxide poisoning while trying to heat their home, also in Enfield.

CNN's Chuck Johnston and Marina Landis contributed to this report.

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