PORTLAND, Maine (Reuters) - Repair crews fought a slow battle on Saturday to restore power lines snapped by a brutal winter storm that finally eased after pounding northern New England and New York for three days. President Bill Clinton declared five New York counties a disaster area on Saturday. More than 3 million people were without electricity in New York, parts of New England and Canada. The sun began to shine in parts of the stricken area, but ice-covered trees continued to fall and knock down power lines. On many rural roads, drivers needed to take along a chain saw if they expected to travel any distance. Central Maine Power Co. said it had made some progress and reduced the number of customers without power to 229,000 households. But it said water from melting ice had knocked out three larger transmission lines. The storm slid across the border from Quebec on Wednesday and has been blamed for killing 10 people in Canada, where record damage was been recorded. The only death known in New England was of a Waterville, Maine, man who used a portable gas-powered generator in his home and suffered carbon monoxide poisoning. Authorities warned against operating such equipment inside. Maine asked to be declared a federal disaster area, although officials said it was too early to estimate the cost of damage. Too much ice on the power lines meant too little ice for athletes trying to make the U.S. Olympic speed skating team, which was forced to postpone its trials in Lake Placid, New York.