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By Corky Siemaszko

Mother Nature ignored the calendar and buried parts of the Northeast on Monday with nearly 2 feet of snow.

Whiteout conditions were also reported in northern New England and parts of New York State, according to the National Weather Service.

How much snow fell? Bucks Corner, New York, got 2 feet. Binghamton, New York, got 18 inches. Lenox, Massachusetts, got 17 inches. And Litchfield County, Connecticut, got more than a foot.

Postal clerk Pamela Bentley shovels lake-effect snow in front of the U.S. Post Office on Monday in Grafton, New York.Mike Groll / AP

Several more inches of snow were forecast for the hardest-hit areas and the "cold and windy weather is expected to continue for another day across the northeastern quadrant of the nation," the NWS warned.

In addition, a huge swath of western New York State — from Syracuse north to Watertown — was under a lake-effect snow watch, with forecasters warning that 2 to 4 inches more snow could fall by early Tuesday.

But relief is on the way, just in time for Thanksgiving.

Monday's weather forecast.The Weather Channel

"The snow bands should gradually decline in intensity as we go into the night and into Tuesday," said Ari Sarsalari, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel.

Winter doesn't officially start until Dec. 21. But at some points overnight, snow was falling at a rate of 2 inches an hour in northern New York State, The Weather Channel reported.

The early blast of winter began in the middle of last week as a storm blanketed parts of the Rockies with more than a foot of snow before marching across the northern Plains towards New England.

Vintage Chevy trucks are covered in snow Monday in Stephentown, New York.Mike Groll / AP

In Minnesota, two people were killed in two of the 450 car crashes on icy highways that state police reported.

In the Rochester, New York, region, wind gusts of 30 mph to 40 mph knocked down power lines, leaving more than 17,000 customers to shiver in the dark.

The snow also meant busy times at the stores.

"Obviously, when people have this colder weather, they look in their car and they go: 'Oh, where's my snow brush? Where's my ice scrapers?'" Al Kunz, manager of Valu Home Center in Erie, Pennsylvania, told NBC station WICU. "So we've been very busy with people coming in for items for their car."

Residents of Ontario County in upstate New York woke up to as much as 20 inches of snow Monday morning, just three days after the high temperature hit 70 on Friday, NBC station WHEC of Rochester reported.

The Lowes Home Improvement store in the town of Canandaigua sold 30 snow blowers within hours of opening Monday morning, said Tim Faro, the store's assistant manager.

"We've had to turn some people away at this point," Faro told the station. "Last year, we hardly sold any snow blowers with the lack of snow. This year, we were prepared."

Alex Johnson contributed.