Ethan Yankellow pondered the last time he saw snow in the Baltimore area at this time of year — and drew a blank.
"I don't remember any time I saw snow in October, and I've lived here all my life," Yankellow, 42, said Saturday.
The Reisterstown man was among many area residents who marveled at Saturday's wintry mix in autumn, as snow, sleet and rain combined to coat many secondary roads in the Baltimore area while leaving more than half a foot of snow in points west.
Throughout the region, the precipitation made for hazardous travel conditions.
Wet snow fell throughout Maryland, with the National Weather Service issuing preliminary reports of up to 4.5 inches in northern Baltimore County, as much as 6 inches in Carroll County and up to 9 inches in Allegany County.
The rare October snowstorm bore down from Virginia to Connecticut, delaying flights and knocking out electricity for hundreds of thousands of customers.
The weather service issued a freeze warning for the Baltimore-Washington area from midnight to 9 a.m. on Sunday. The weather service said that temperatures would range from the 20s in mountainous areas to the low 30s in urban areas.
Gale warnings were in effect for the middle and lower Maryland portions of the Chesapeake Bay as well as the tidal Potomac inlet. A small craft advisory was issued for the northern bay and upper tidal Potomac River.
Baltimore Gas and Electric reported about 1,700 outages as of 7 p.m. Saturday, many of them in Carroll and Baltimore counties. The utility warned that "heavy, wet snow and high wind gusts," could take down trees and limbs, potentially damaging power lines.
BGE called in extra field staff to work over the weekend.
Weather-related debris in Frederick County forced the closing of lanes and shoulders in both directions of MD 77 at Foxville Deerfield Road, state transportation officials said.
The snowiest October day on record for Baltimore in October came in 1925, when 2.5 inches fell on Oct. 30. Measurable snow has fallen on Baltimore on only four October days since official record-keeping began.
An inch of snow at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport could make this the second-snowiest October day on record for Baltimore.
Major delays were reported at Philadelphia International Airport and at New York-area airports. At least 1,000 flights had been canceled, and Teterboro Airport in New Jersey closed for a period of time, said flight tracking service FlightAware.com.
"It's a strong storm for October," said AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist Paul Walker. "We don't usually see storms this deep and this strong."
The storm brought more than an inch of snow to New York's Central Park, breaking a record that had stood since 1925, according to AccuWeather.com. The snow and cold tested the resolve of the Occupy Wall Street protesters, who hunkered down in snow-covered tents in a park in Manhattan's financial district.
"We knew this would be tough. We didn't start this as a sort of summer of love, it's the winter of discontent," said Alan Collinge, 41, from Seattle, as he poked his head out of a tent.
Yankellow, the Reisterstown man, said he saw snow when he awoke early Saturday.
"The first thing I did was to wake up my girls," he said. "I had heard [the area] would get flurries, but it was completely covered in Reisterstown."
He spoke while shopping for a battery at the Hunt Valley Town Center.
Candace Pavese visited the shopping center from New Freedom, Pa., just north of the Maryland border.
She said that when she left New Freedom on Saturday morning, the area was being hit with the kind of snow that "a person going by human wisdom only would never go out in."
"But I prayed about it," Pavese said, and the Holy Spirit said, 'It's going to be fine.'"
Heather Donatelli took daughters Molly and Maggie to buy winter coats. The 38-year-old Glyndon woman said she hasn't seen snow this early since she "was a little girl."
She added that the snow had forced an outdoor trick-or-treat event they were scheduled to attend to be moved indoors.
Sun reporter Steve Kilar and Reuters contributed to this article.