14 deaths, outages in blizzard's aftermath

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NEWPORT, R.I. -- Travel eased and life slowly returned to normal Sunday for most New Englanders after a massive blizzard, but many remained without power in cold and darkened homes and a forecast of rain brought a new worry: weight piling up dangerously on roofs already burdened by heavy snow.

The storm that slammed into the region with up to 3 feet of snow was blamed for at least 14 deaths in the Northeast and Canada, and brought some of the highest accumulations ever recorded.

Hundreds of people, their homes without heat or electricity, were forced to take refuge in emergency shelters.

"For all the complaining everyone does, people really came through," said Rich Dinsmore, 65, of Newport, R.I., who was staying at a Red Cross shelter set up in a middle school in Middletown after the power went out in his home on Friday.

Utility crews, some brought in from as far away as Georgia, Oklahoma and Quebec, raced to restore power to more than 300,000 customers -- down from 650,000 in eight states at the height of the storm.

President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency for Connecticut yesterday after the massive storm dumped as much as 3 feet of snow, paralyzing much of the state. The order means federal money will be used to help state and local response efforts.

In hardest-hit Massachusetts, where some 234,000 customers remained without power Sunday, officials said some of the outages might linger until Tuesday.

Driving bans were lifted and flights resumed at major airports in the region that had closed during the storm.

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