Meg Maruyama  /  AP
A tree uprooted by high winds rests against a new home in Palisades Park, N.J., on Sunday. High winds continued to batter New Jersey and other eastern U.S. locations for the third day in a row.
updated 10/29/2006 9:03:17 PM ET 2006-10-30T02:03:17

Thousands of homes and businesses had no electricity Sunday from Maryland to Maine as a storm system blasted the region with winds gusting to more than 50 mph, knocking over trees and a construction crane. The storm was blamed for at least two deaths.

Gusts of 70 mph were possible Sunday in northern New York state, the National Weather Service said.

A falling tree killed a motorcyclist in Massachusetts, police said. In New Hampshire, one man was missing after falling off a cruise ship on Lake Winnipesaukee during the storm late Saturday, and one man drowned when his kayak overturned on a rain-swollen river, state officials said.

In hard-hit Maine, a 165-foot crane with a wrecking ball attached toppled in one of the most populous neighborhoods of Portland, falling on three houses. No injuries were reported.

The wrecking ball narrowly missed a car.

“The first thing I saw was the ball coming down really fast about 10 feet from us,” said Colleen Mowatt, 48, of Gorham, Maine, whose boyfriend hit the brakes just in time. “It hit the roadway, and the rest of the crane just fell on the buildings in front of us.”

More than 100,000 utility customers throughout the region, including 44,000 in Maine, were without power Sunday.

New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport, one of three major airports for the New York City region, had delays up to 1½ hours, mostly for incoming flights, authorities said.

Willimantic, Conn., reported 3.54 inches of rain Saturday, and New York City’s Central Park measured 2.54.

The weather observatory atop New Hampshire’s 6,288-foot Mount Washington, famous for severe weather, reported sustained wind of 100 mph and a gust to 114 mph. The peak also got 11 inches of snow overnight, for an October total of 39 inches.

The storm produced heavy lake effect snowfall in parts of New York state downwind from Lake Ontario, including 9 inches at Old Forge, the weather service said. A winter storm warning was in effect for the area Sunday, with as much as 18 inches of snow possible at higher elevations.

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