In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie declared the damage to utilities worse than that wrought by Irene, a deadly storm that blew through the state in August.
"The reason for that was the leaves on the trees have made whole trees and huge branches come down and taken down more wires — there are more lines down than Hurricane Irene," Christie told WNYC in New York. "It's a huge challenge for everybody."
Christie also urged parents to avoid downed power lines when they take their children out for Halloween.
Things were similar in Connecticut, where the power loss of 800,000 broke a record set by Irene. By early Monday, around 400,000 people lacked power in New Jersey and more than 750,000 in Connecticut.
The snowstorm smashed record snowfall totals for October and worsened as it moved north. Communities in western Massachusetts were among the hardest hit. Snowfall totals topped 27 inches in Plainfield, and nearby Windsor got 26 inches. The snowstorm was blamed for at least 12 deaths, and states of emergency were declared in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and parts of New York.
"Look at this, look at all the damage," said Jennifer Burckson, 49, after she came outside Sunday morning in South Windsor to find a massive tree branch had smashed her car's back windshield. Trees in the neighborhood snapped in half, with others weighed down so much that the leaves brushed the snow.
Compounding the storm's impact were still-leafy trees, which gave the snow something to hang onto and that put tremendous weight on branches, said National Weather Service spokesman Chris Vaccaro. That led to limbs breaking off and contributed to the widespread power failures.