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Page last updated at 23:20 GMT, Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Blizzards add to snow chaos in north-eastern US

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The BBC's Matt Frei takes to the streets of of a snow hit Washington DC

Blizzards have hit cities in the north-eastern US, cutting power, disrupting travel, and closing schools, businesses and government offices.

In Washington DC and neighbouring Montgomery County conditions were considered so hazardous that snow-plough operations were suspended.

The National Guard announced it had called on 200 of its members to help clear streets in the capital.

Baltimore banned all but emergency vehicles from driving on city streets.

The National Weather Service (NWS) said heavy snow and winds gusting at up to 60mph from Virginia to New York could make attempts to travel life-threatening.

WASHINGTON SNOWSTORMS
More than 1ft of snow has fallen only 14 times since 1870
Heaviest on record is 28in in January 1922
Worst snowfall is believed to have hit in 1772, before records began, with as much as 3ft

The blizzards have come as the region is still dealing with days of heavy snow.

Washington DC's winter snowfall total up to Wednesday morning of 54.9in (139cm) recorded at Reagan National Airport, had made the season the snowiest on record since 1899, the NWS said.

The Federal Aviation Authority said Dulles Airport near Washington DC would shut down for 24 hours due to the adverse conditions.

Schools closed in New York for only the third time in six years, and the United Nations said it had closed its headquarters in the city.

The storm arrived from the west, where as much as 17in of snow fell in the state of Iowa.

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As the storm closed in on the north-eastern US late on Tuesday, people raced to clear existing snow and stockpile food.

Thousands remained without power from the last storm a few days ago in parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland and other areas.

Philadelphia was expecting up to 19in of snow and Baltimore as much as 20in, according to the National Weather Service.

Baltimore was in the midst of its snowiest winter since records began, with Philadelphia forecast to also break its previous seasonal high of 65.5in.

In Washington, federal agencies are shut and the House of Representatives has called off all votes for this week.

The Senate is due to resume work on Thursday as the storm moves offshore.

The government closure is estimated to be costing $100m (£64m) a day in lost productivity and other costs.

Many of the region's schools are closed, with some cancelling classes for the rest of the week.

Transport has been widely disrupted, with airports in Washington shutting early on Tuesday. Airlines cancelled hundreds of flights, but some relaxed ticket policies to allow passengers to change their plans without penalty.

Washington's bus system has ground to a halt and its subway was partly suspended. Thousands of houses have remained without power in the Washington area.

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SEE ALSO
More snow expected in eastern US
08 Feb 10 |  Americas
US snow causes major power cuts
07 Feb 10 |  Americas
Blizzards in the US: Your pictures
10 Feb 10 |  Americas
US snow: Your pictures II
09 Feb 10 |  Americas
US snow: Your pictures
07 Feb 10 |  Americas
In pictures: Snow chaos in eastern US
07 Feb 10 |  In Pictures

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