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US offices in Washington close ahead of winter weather

March 5, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — A strong cold front moving across the eastern U.S. Thursday dumped deep snow in some regions and prompted the federal government to close its offices in the Washington area.

In New York City’s LaGuardia Airport, a plane skidded off a runway while landing Thursday morning. The Fire Department of New York says any injuries appeared to be minor. The Delta flight from Atlanta was carrying 125 passengers and five crew members.

By Thursday afternoon, the storm had dumped more than 20 inches (50 centimeters) of snow on parts of Kentucky, and conditions worsened in the Northeast as snow started to pile up. The massive snow in Kentucky left hundreds of people stranded on two major highways and National Guard members delivering them food or driving them to warming centers.

Schools, government offices and legislatures in the Southeast and Northeast were shut down for what could be one of the last snow days at the end of a winter that’s been brutal for much of the U.S..

The National Weather Service had winter storm warnings in effect from Texas to Massachusetts, and the forecast called for record cold temperatures in the same area on Friday.

Non-emergency personnel in and around Washington were granted excused absences for the day, the federal Office of Personnel Management said. Emergency employees and telework-ready employees were expected to work.

The weather forecast got Congress going and produced rare bipartisan agreements in the House of Representatives and in the Senate to finish business early and get out of town. Up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow was in the forecast for Thursday morning.

Forecasts showed much of the South will see temperatures drop 30 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 to 7 degrees Celsius) in a 24-hour period thanks to yet another arctic cold front. Some locations may even see their coldest temperatures ever recorded so late in the season including Nashville, Tennessee, and Louisville, Kentucky.

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