A fierce winter storm brought blizzard conditions and hurricane force winds as the anticipated snowstorm descended across much of the Northeast overnight.
By early Saturday morning, 650,000 homes and businesses were without power and at least five deaths were being blamed on the storm, three in Canada, one in New York and one in Connecticut, The Associated Press reported.
The storm stretched from New Jersey to Maine, affecting more than 25 million people, with more than two feet of snow falling in areas of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy declared a state of emergency and closed all roads in the state. Overnight, snow fell at a rate of up to five to six inches per hour in parts of Connecticut.
In Milford, Conn. more than 38 inches of snow had fallen by Saturday morning.
"If you're not an emergency personnel that's required to be somewhere. Stay home," said Malloy.
In Fairfield, Conn. firefighters and police officers on the day shift were unable to make it to work, so the overnight shift remained on duty.
The wind and snow started affecting the region during the Friday night commute.
In Cumberland, Maine, the conditions led to a 19-car pile-up and in New York, hundreds of commuters were stranded on the snowy Long Island Expressway. Police were still working to free motorists early Saturday morning.
"The biggest problem that we're having is that people are not staying on the main portion or the middle section of the roadway and veering to the shoulders, which are not plowed," said Lieutenant Daniel Meyer from the Suffolk County Police Highway Patrol."The snow, I'm being told is already over two feet deep."
In New York, authorities are digging out hundreds of cars that got stuck overnight on the Long Island Expressway.
Bob Griffith of Syosset, N.Y. tried leave early to escape the storm, but instead ended up stuck in the snow by the side of the road.
"I tried to play it smart in that I started early in the day, when it was raining," said Griffith. "But the weather beat us to the punch."
Suffok County Executive Steven Bellone said the snow had wreaked havoc on the roadways.
"I saw state plows stuck on the side of the road. I've never seen anything like this before," Bellone said.
However, some New York residents, who survived the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, were rattled by having to face another large and potentially dangerous storm system with hurricane force winds and flooding.
"How many storms of the century can you have in six months?" said Larry Racioppo, a resident of the hard hit Rockaway neighborhood in Queens, New York.
In Boston, over two feet of snow had fallen by Saturday morning and the National Weather Service anticipated up to three feet of snow could fall by the end of the storm. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick enacted the first statewide driving ban since the 1978 blizzard, which left 27 inches of snow and killed dozens. The archdiocese told parishioners that according to church law the responsibility to attend mass "does not apply where there is grave difficulty in fulfilling obligation."
In New York, a little more than 11 inches fell in the city.
By Saturday morning, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said nearly all of the primary roads had been plowed and the department of sanitation anticipated that all roads would be plowed by the end of the day.
"It looks like we dodged a bullet, but keep in mind winter is not over," said Bloomberg.