The first big wintry storm of the season began dropping what forecasters say could be more than a foot of wet, heavy snow Saturday on parts of the Northeast, making travel treacherous and cutting off power to tens of thousands, the AP reports. Morning rain gave over to snow in the afternoon in New England. Accidents littered the Massachusetts Turnpike, where speed limits were reduced to 40 mph. As of late Saturday night, about 200,000 customers were without power in Maine, according to the utility tracking poweroutage.us. Another 53,000 customers didn't have power in New Hampshire and about 22,000 in Massachusetts. Forecasters warned the storm could result in near-blizzard conditions and could dump a foot of snow on suburban Boston.
In Canada, southern Quebec and New Brunswick also expected a wallop. Authorities in Connecticut urged drivers to be careful. "Troopers are responding to accidents all over the state," state police tweeted. "We ask motorists, if they can stay home please do. And if you have to go out please drive slow and ditch all distractions." Unitil Corp., an electric and gas utility in New England, reported that crews stood ready to respond to power outages. In some areas, snowfall of 3 inches per hour was possible, said National Weather Service meteorologist Michael Clair in Gray, Maine. "This is the first big one," Clair said of the beginning of the winter season. "There has been some snow up in the mountains, but this is the first one across where most people live."
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