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Major Snowstorm Blankets US Capital

Forecasters say snow accumulations could reach 60 centimeters around Washington DC

Vehicles are left in snowbanks in Fairfax City, Virginia, as major snowstorm hits the Atlantic Coast of the United States, 19 Dec 2009
Vehicles are left in snowbanks in Fairfax City, Virginia, as major snowstorm hits the Atlantic Coast of the United States, 19 Dec 2009

A snow emergency has been declared in the U.S. capital as the region braces for what may prove to be the largest December snowstorm since 1932.

The National Weather Service predicts more than 30 centimeters of snow will blanket the U.S. northeast by late Saturday.  Forecasters say snow accumulations could reach 60 centimeters around Washington DC.

Just south of the capital in Virginia, more than 12 centimeters had already fallen by late Friday.  The national guard is on alert, and a state of emergency has been declared.

While the country's entire northeast will see considerable snowfall, the Washington area is expected to be among the hardest hit.  The U.S. National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning in the capital for Saturday, warning residents travel will be "extremely dangerous."

In the past, severe weather conditions in the U.S. capital have led to a near shutdown of the city.  The U.S. Senate is scheduled to continue its debate of healthcare reform Saturday.

The storm already has drenched the southeastern U.S. with heavy rain.  More than 30 centimeters of rain fell Thursday in some areas of south Florida, flooding homes and leaving motorists stranded.

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