In America, east coast residents begin fighting snow left behind by Nemo

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At least eight deaths were blamed on the storm

People across New England and Canada's east coast are fighting their way through historic levels of snow, which deluged over them yesterday.

At least eight deaths were blamed on the snow storm, dubbed Nemo,  including three in Canada.

In Boston, snow is up to people's waists and in New York's Long Island emergency crews used snowmobiles to reach shivering motorists stranded overnight.

About 475,000 homes and businesses were still without power last night, down from a peak of about 650,000, and some could be cold and dark for days. Roads across the New York-to-Boston corridor of roughly 25 million people were impassable.

Some people found the wet, heavy snow packed so high against their homes they couldn't get their doors open.

Michael Levesque, in Quincy, Massachusetts, said: "It's like lifting cement. They say it's two feet, but I think it's more like 3 feet."

At least five deaths in the U.S. were blamed on the overnight snowstorm, including an 11-year-old boy in Boston who was overcome by carbon monoxide as he sat in a running car to keep warm while his father shoveled Saturday morning.

An 80-year-old woman collapsed in southern Ontario while shovelling her driveway, and two men were killed in car crashes.

A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle last night in Connecticut, and a 23-year-old New York man ploughing his driveway with a tractor went off the edge of the road and was killed, police in those states said.

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee cautioned that while the snow had stopped, the danger hadn't passed.

He said: "People need to take this storm seriously, even after it's over. If you have any kind of heart condition, be careful with the shoveling."

But the storm was not as bad as some feared, and not as dire as the Blizzard of '78, used by longtime New Englanders as the benchmark by which all other winter storms are measured.

In New York, where Central Park recorded 28 cm,  Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city "dodged a bullet" and its streets were "in great shape."

The three major airports- LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark and New Jersey- were up and running by late morning after shutting down the evening before.

By midday Saturday, the National Weather Service reported preliminary snowfall totals of 63 cm in Boston, or fifth on the city's all-time list. Bradley Airport near Hartford, Connecticut, got 56 cm, coming to second in the record books there.

Concord, New Hampshire, got 61 cm of snow.

Boston's Logan Airport was not expected to resume operations until late Saturday night.

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