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ALBANY — Hardwood trees were the first to snap, towering maples and oaks laden with a canopy of big russet leaves acting as tarpaulins that caught gloppy, heavy snow as it fell freakishly before dawn on Oct. 4, 1987. After a run of Indian summer, forecasters were caught off guard when a cold front blasted through overnight and a steady rain turned to wet snow. Across the Capital Region, snow-laden limbs yanked down utility lines and triggered a cascading event with widespread power outages and all manner of havoc. What would have been a modest snow falling without drama through bare trees in January instead rendered the landscape a wintry cataclysm: four deaths, power knocked out to 270,000 homes, major roads impassable and millions of dollars in utility repairs, ruined crops and lost business. Live wires crackled and sparked with a lethal force on the ground. Community centers became emergency shelters. The soundtrack was the incessant high-pitched whine of chain saws amid a mangled mess of sheared-off limbs and uprooted trunks. Many people didn't have power restored for days, forcing those without electricity or hard-to-find generators to revert to a pioneering spirit: reading by candlelight, putting food from refrigerators into snowbanks, cooking in fireplaces. Craig loved everything about the storm's aftermath: a week off school, camping out in the house in sleeping bags; boiling snow for bath water because the electric water pump didn't work; making up games; and listening as a family to the radio. The rival Troy Record stepped in to help its stricken competitor thanks to a gentleman's agreement common to the industry. The Oct. 5, 1987 edition was printed on the Record's press and marked another first: the Hearst's morning Times Union and afternoon Knickerbocker News shared the same masthead in a never-repeated combined effort. During their late-night toil to paste up the pages of what became the iconic "Fall's Snowy Crippler," a collector's edition, Palella twice drove back from Troy to the Times Union's plant to fetch more type squirreled away. Palella drove a Camaro, trunk loaded with sandbags, and he fishtailed around snowy curves as he raced to get out the first draft of history.