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First Winter Storm of the Year Kills Two, Causes Hundreds of Crashes

A winter storm moving across the Northern United States has caused two deaths and hundreds of crashes as it moves into the Northeast.
IMAGE: Minnesota snow
A man shovels his sidewalk during a snowstorm Friday in St. Cloud, Minnesota.Elizabeth Flores / AP

A winter storm moving across the Northern United States has caused two deaths and hundreds of crashes as it moves into the Northeast. A large part of the United States has been plagued by its first heavy snow of the year.

The Minnesota State Patrol said the winter storm caused 450 crashes and 860 spinouts as it moved east. Two people died Friday in separate two-vehicle crashes on icy highways, and a trooper suffered minor injuries Saturday when a motorist struck his squad car on Interstate 94 near Alexandria as the trooper was responding to another incident, according to the patrol.

"People can be a little overconfident," said Frank Giannasca, senior meteorologist for The Weather Channel, who warned people to drive carefully. "A lot of times, that first storm anywhere can be a mess in terms of cars sliding off the road and accidents."

The snow is expected to continue through most of northern Pennsylvania and part of upstate New York. It will then head into western and northern New England, where it is expected to dissipate heading into Tuesday. Many of those areas could expect up to a foot of snow, perhaps even two. Cities and towns downwind of the Great Lakes will likely get hit worst.

"Please be very cautious, because we're going to see a lot more wintry scenes playing out," Danielle Banks, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel, said Sunday night. And "we've got more coming on board for localaes across the Northeast."

Powerful wind gusts up to 50 mph are expected through Monday. More than 17,000 customers were without power Sunday night in the Rochester, New York, Rochester Gas & Electric said, thanks to downed power lines and fallen tree limbs.

Numerous departures and arrivals were canceled or delayed Sunday at Greater Rochester International Airport, NBC station WHEC reported.

The storm seems to have brought winter with it, as it is carrying typical late-November, early-December temperatures, cutting short a temperate autumn across the United States.

"It's a 25- to 30 degree drop," Giannasca said. "It's a bracing slap in the face."

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The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states will see temperatures in the 30s and the 40s, while the Southeast can expect it to drop to the 50s and the 60s. Homeless shelters around Boston were near capacity Sunday night as temperatures dropped, New England Cable News reported.

Moving into December, temperatures are expected to stabilize and settle into typical winter weather patterns.

"It probably will feel like it should going into December," Giannasca said.