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Washington braces itself for further heavy snow

Washington DC, near-paralysed since the end of last week by one of the biggest snowstorms of recent years, is bracing itself for another heavy fall today.
More than two feet of snow fell on Friday and Saturday over the city and neighbouring Virginia and Maryland and other parts of the north-east, and there is little sign of a return to normal.
Federal government offices, schools and other organisations have been closed since Friday and are unlikely to open tomorrow and possibly not even this week.
About 230,000 federal employees who have been given time off will still be paid. Tens of thousands of others, mainly service workers, will not and have been struggling to get into work or left to work out how they can make up the loss.
Cars, trucks, buses, trains and even snowploughs were still being dug out today. Tens of thousands of people were without power, with lines brought down by snow-laden trees.
Many supermarkets in the DC area have had empty shelves since a spate of panic-­buying on Friday. Snow shovels are in especially short supply.
Most of the political agenda in Washington has been postponed. The Senate met for only a few minutes on Monday and the House of Representatives today.
The Democratic leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, explaining the decision to suspend normal work, said that it was difficult for members of Congress and their staff to make it to work on snow-clogged streets, particularly with buses and the underground offering only limited services.
The White House, normally busy with visitors from Congress, world leaders and officials from round the country, has reduced business to a minimum.
About a foot or more of snow is predicted over the next 24 hours. Normally that would not be too much of a problem, except it is coming on top of mounds of snow that have not been cleared.
The new fall could break records. A further nine inches would give Washington and Philadelphia their snowiest winters since records began in 1884.

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