CNN reported at least three people had died in the storm, including an 84-year-old man sleeping in a recliner when a snow-weighted tree fell on his home in Temple, Pa. Another person died while driving in the storm in Hebron, Conn., a state emergency official said. The third fatality was a man in his 20s killed in Springfield, Mass., who ignored police barricades around downed power lines and touched a metal guard rail that was electrified, city fire department spokesman Dennis Legere said.
With up to 18 inches of snow forecast in parts of the U.S. Northeast, the governors of Connecticut, New Jersey and New York declared emergencies for their states, CNN said.
CNN reported that in addition to knocking out power to more than 2 million households, the rare pre-Halloween snow storm forced the cancellation of all domestic flights out of New Jersey's Newark International Airport and the Federal Aviation Administration reported major delays at New York's two airports.
The New York Times reported at least a half-million people were without electricity.
"Along with snow we're going to have wind and high seas," Charlie Foley, an NWS meteorologist, told the Times. "We seem to have hit the jackpot. It is unusual to have something like this before Halloween."
The National Weather Service said Ogletown, Pa., and Terra Alta, W.Va., had received 10 inches of snow by 5 p.m. EDT, CNN said. Frostburg, Md., had at least 9.5 inches.
The weather service said up to a foot of snow could be dumped onto central Massachusetts, The Boston Globe reported.
The newspaper said one weather casualty could be the Halloween weekend festivities in Salem, Mass., site of the infamous witch trials and a modern-day magnet for costumed revelers from across the country.
Meteorologists say the storm, which will last through Sunday, will break records in terms of being early in the season as well as the unheard of amounts of snow predicted, Accuweather reported.
Driving conditions were predicted to be dismal as road surface temperatures cool and snow builds up.
Heavier snow in the afternoon accompanied by high winds was forecast to cause tree damage in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and into New England and major air-traffic delays are expected, the report said.
Washington, D.C., was being hit with a mix of snow and rain, receiving 1 to 2 inches an hour, The Washington Post reported.