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'Snowmageddon' Buries Washington DC

Although the blizzards have ended, driving remains trecherous

Although the blizzards have ended, driving remains trecherous

Washington DC begins to dig out from back-to-back blizzards

Residents of Washington, D.C. are digging out from back-to-back blizzards that have broken a 111 year old record for snowfall in the region. As of 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, 139.5 centimeters (54.9 inches) of snow had fallen at Ronald Reagan National Airport, breaking the old record of 138 centimeters (54.4 inches) in the winter of 1888-1889.

For the first time in history, the U.S. federal government on Thursday closed for a fourth consecutive day, as are most schools.

However some businesses re-opened.

"Thank goodness it's there. I need my coffee," said Sarah Williams, a broadcaster for the Voice of America as she braved rigid temperatures and wind gusts to walk to a Starbuck's, two blocks from the VOA studios.

Steve Taylor of Arlington, Va. said he was afraid the snow might damage his home. "The problem is the weight of all that snow ... It was pressing down so hard on my roof that it would not move when I tried to push it off."

In northern Virginia, where some areas had snow totals from the two storms exceeding 76 centimeters (30 inches), Dulles International Airport re-opened Thursday. However, Ronald Reagan National Airport, across the Potomac river from Washington, remained closed. The region's subway system resumed limited service.

The two blizzards also broke a snowfall record in Baltimore, Maryland, 80 kilometers northeast of Washington. As of late Wednesday, the 183.6 centimeters (72.3 inches) of snow broke a record for the most snow in a winter set in 1995-1996.

The five-day weather forecast for Washington calls for more snow early next week.