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UPDATED 9:28 P.M.: Gov. Declares State of Emergency; Middletown Shelter Opened

Middletown experiences weather history as wet flakes the size of golf balls fall from the sky.

9:30 p.m. Update

Mayor Sebastian N. Giuliano opened the emergency shelter at Middletown High (200 LaRosa Lane) at 7:30 p.m. because of power outages caused by the winter storm. The shelter will be open at least through tomorrow, and pets contained in a carrier are welcome, although pet owners must provide food and any necessary medications. Limited food in the form of meals ready to eat (MREs) and water will be available, and the Middletown Police Department will be providing security.

In a press conference at about the same time, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy declared a state of emergency in Connecticut and warned those without power to expect to be in the dark for "a prolonged period of time."

Malloy said more than 400,000 CL&P customers were without power so far, but the CL&P website showed 512,000 customers without power as of 8:20 p.m. The storm is expected to tail off on Sunday morning, but until then the governor urged motorists to stay off the roads.

Malloy said there was one reported fatality during the storm so far, a motorist along Route 85 in Colchester, and that a Connecticut State Trooper had also suffered injuries during the storm, but they were not serious.

The governor said he thought the state was well-prepared to handle the freak  snowstorm and that there were currently 600 state vehicles out clearing roadways, and an additional 40 contracted vehicles assisting.

Malloy said Bradley International Airport was still open and that 23 planes so far had been diverted there from other airports. The record for incoming diverted planes at Bradley is 27, he said.

-- Reporting by David Moran, Manchester Patch editor

5:24 p.m. Update:

CL&P reports 12 percent of Middletown customers, or 2,774, are without power.

A walk around Middletown's North End this afternoon was no easy feat as heavy, wet snow made visibility poor. The sound of tree limbs cracking under the weight was loud in the air.

You could nearly predict the next trees that would shed their branches — a treetop split down the middle like the pages of a book fell right in front of this reporter on High Street — hitting three homes from 402-406 (see pictures).

Middletown Fire blocked off the stretch High Street from Liberty to Lincoln at 4:40 p.m. with yellow police tape.

Earlier version

Call it what you will — "snowmageddon," "Snowtober," "Say it Ain't Snow." A significant snowstorm in the Nutmeg state before we've even fully decorated the house for Halloween is about as rare as, well, a nor'easter in October.

According to NBC Connecticut, Halloween isn't the only freaky thing taking place this month.  

"In the greater Hartford area, measurable snow has only occurred three times in the last 100 years. Along the shoreline, measurable snow has only occurred once."

Looks like this'll be one for the records books. NBC Connecticut goes on,  "The greatest October snowstorm in metro Hartford dropped 1.7 inches on Oct. 10, 1979. The heaviest October snowfall in Connecticut history occurred on Oct. 4, 1987 in Norfolk with 9.5 inches of accumulation."

Stop & Shop was a frenzy of folks loading up their carriages — and very few were thinking Halloween candy. We're talking staples: bottled water, bread, milk and butter.

Middletown Patch captured a few shots of this record-breaking fall day.

Upload your own photos here!

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Nicole Drasdis October 30, 2011 at 01:19 PM
Winter Wonderland in October! Who would of thought!!
J.P. MEARS November 01, 2011 at 07:25 PM
Great article Cassie! Hope you are all keeping warm. xxoo

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