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Winter comes early to the Northeast

A tree rests upon power lines after a winter storm October 30, 2011 in Hartsville, Penn.

Steve Chiotakis: In the Northeast U.S., more homes are getting their lights turned on this morning after a freak October snowstorm left travel tangled and daily life disrupted all along the upper east coast.

Wet snow brought trees that still had leaves, down onto power lines, knocking out electricity to nearly 3 million homes across the region. Some of the damage was even worse than what Tropical Storm Irene did a couple of months ago.

Curt Nickisch is a reporter at station WBUR in Boston, and he's with us now to talk about it. Hey Curt.

Curt Nickisch: Hi.

Chiotakis: What are we talking about for the economic cost, not only in your neck of the woods in Boston, but throughout the region?

Nickisch: Well, hard to put a number on it at this point, even though we've been able to sort of deal with it of a day now. But all over New England, lines down and power out. In Massachusetts alone, 500,000 people without power.

I think it really just took people by surprise, they were sort of in weekend mode. Only three weeks ago, we had 80 degree temperatures here. And so in some ways, the costs might be a little bit worse because people just weren't prepared.

Chiotakis: Any surprising impacts from such an early storm?

Nickisch: Well, today is thirty-one October, and all the kids were looking forward to go out trick-or-treating, and a lot of communities have cancelled this, you know, seminal holiday, Halloween, because they're afraid to send kids out walking around where there may be power lines down.

Chiotakis: It's certainly something you don't think about, getting through the Halloween trick-or-treating in the snow. Curt Nickisch from station WBUR in Boston, Curt, thanks.

Nickisch: You got it.

About the author

Steve Chiotakis was the host of Marketplace Morning Report until January 2012.

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