WASHINGTON The Washington, D.C., area slowly moved toward normal operation on Tuesday with improved transportation but federal offices remained closed after a deadly weekend blizzard on the U.S. East Coast.
District of Columbia city government and some local governments in the Washington-Baltimore region reopened after around-the-clock cleanup from the weekend snowstorm, which killed at least 35 people in 10 states and the U.S. capital.
Washington's downtown had light traffic and few pedestrians although many streets had been cleared from curb to curb, and sidewalks still were being shoveled. Washington joined Baltimore, Philadelphia and suburban districts in keeping public schools closed.
Temperatures forecast to reach about 45 Fahrenheit (7 Celsius) were expected to help Washington's cleanup.
Devon Brewster, 27, a restaurant server, said he had no problem finding a downtown parking spot. He said the federal government could have opened even though the cleanup from more than 2 feet (60 cm) of snow was continuing.
"It's government. They get plenty of days off a year. Good for them," he said. "Maybe we should all work for the government."
Hundreds of thousands of federal workers have been idled or working from home since offices closed at noon on Friday ahead of the storm.
The House of Representatives called off all votes until next week. The Senate canceled votes scheduled for Tuesday.
Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, said the Washington area's $500 billion economy would see slight impact from the storm. Local governments already had budgeted for bad weather and two days of lost work out of a year is negligible, he said.
New York City was close to normalcy after a snowfall that fell just short of a record. Public schools and the New York Stock Exchange were open.
Washington's Metro subway system, the second-busiest in the United States, was shut down Saturday and Sunday but was running with slower service on almost all lines Tuesday, although the Silver Line in Virginia still shut down. Bus services were on a "severe snow" schedule.
Maryland's commuter rail line resumed limited service but Virginia's remained shut down.
The Federal Aviation Administration said airlines were returning to regular schedules but high winds and rain could contribute to delays from Washington to Boston.
About 700 U.S. flights were canceled on Tuesday with the worst-hit airports Newark Liberty and Washington Dulles, according to Flightaware.com, an air travel website.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Additional reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Bill Trott)
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Published Date: Jan 26, 2016 11:16 pm | Updated Date: Jan 26, 2016 11:16 pm