U.S. capital paralyzed by heavy snowstorm

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Up to 2 feet (60 centimeters) of snow had fallen in Washington as of Saturday morning, leaving the capital area paralyzed and thousands of families without electricity.

A Washingtonian walks her dogs in the storm in Washington, capital of the United States, Feb. 5, 2010. [Photo: Xinhua] 

"This extremely dangerous storm is expected to produce record snowfall for the Washington metropolitan area," the National Weather Service said, "the storm would be extremely hazardous and life-threatening, and all citizens are urged to remain in doors."

"The total accumulations of the widespread storm will reach 20 to 30 inches (50 to 76 centimeters), with some locations in excess of 30 inches," the service predicted.

Local weather services predicted that the snow would last until mid- to late afternoon, dumping additional five to eight inches of snow in the capital.

Two people were reported to be killed in Virginia related to the snowstorm, according to the state police.

A car is covered by snow in the storm in Washington, capital of the United States, Feb. 5, 2010. [Photo: Xinhua]

Power companies have reported more than 230,000 customers without electricity as heavy snow weighed down trees and power lines.

All flights were canceled for Saturday at Reagan National Airport, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

Metro, the city's subway system, closed all above-the-ground portions, other public transportation mostly in paralysis, and postal services were suspended.

Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C. each declared snow emergencies.

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