An unusually early snowstorm has brought heavy, wet snow to the US east coast, knocking out power to more than two million homes and business.

Many hospitals were also affected as the outages affected a vast area stretching from Maryland to Massachusetts. The snow was heavy and wet, driven in by strong (up to 100 km/h) and gusty northeasterly winds that brought down trees, many still with leaves, and power lines being felled.

The rare October snowstorm rolled up the eastern seaboard on Saturday causing travel chaos. More than 1,000 flights had to be cancelled into or out of the US, while there was widespread disruption on the roads. At least three people are known to have died so far.

Snow in October is by no means exceptional but the northeastern US does not usually see this volume of snow so early ahead of the winter season, and the current conditions could break weather records.

This is only the fourth time since that measurable snow has fallen in New York City during October and the city’s biggest October snow storm since records began in 1869.

West Milford, New Jersey, recorded 39cm of snow on Saturday. States of emergency were declared across the northeast. The snow is now in the process of moving across eastern Canada with drier and bright weather following in behind.

With the storm coming on the Halloween weekend it came as a treat for some (ski resorts in Vermont and Maine enjoyed an early opening) but a nasty trick for the vast majority.

Source: Al Jazeera