NEW YORK, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Federal offices in Washington are set to open after being closed for four days due to record snowfall, officials said Thursday.
Offices will be open Friday, with forecasters calling for a chilly, windy but sunny day. Employees are being allowed to arrive two hours later than normal, and those who cannot get to work may take unscheduled leave time, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty said the snow "will test people's patience."
"A government official who's in tune with his residents knows that you've got to move fast," he said.
The wind-whipped storm that dumped as much as 2 feet of snow on parts of the Eastern seaboard, on the heels of a similarly intense storm last week, resulted in school closings, snarled commutes, grounded jetliners, collapsed roofs and idled businesses. KYW-TV, Philadelphia, reported it left 200,000 without electricity in the Philadelphia area.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said classes were canceled at city schools for 1.1 million children, USA Today reported. Several roof collapses were reported in Delaware, including at a school in Seaford, a fire station in Townsend and a business park in Newark, the newspaper said.
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell declared a state of emergency, The New York Times said.
John Townsend, a spokesman for the AAA auto club, said calls were pouring in from members facing road emergencies. Several major highways were closed in Pennsylvania, where at least one person died.
"Our most important focus today is to rescue the motorists," he said. "It's a lifesaving situation."
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell called out the National Guard and said no one other than emergency personnel should be out on the roads.
The Times said thousands of people were without power in the Baltimore-Washington area, where a blizzard warning was in effect into the evening. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake ordered city streets closed to all but emergency vehicles, the Times said.
"This morning, the National Weather Service advised of life-threatening blizzard conditions, so we had to pull our trucks to the side of the road," the mayor said. "I want to get the city streets clear, but I'm not going to risk safety of our employees just to get an A grade on snow removal."
Accuweather.com forecasters said people in the region would have to endure more whiteouts, drifting snow, freeze-ups and other weather havoc. But it said the worst was over in the mid-Atlantic and the snow was diminishing across southern New England.