Big snowstorm blankets eastern United States

Posted at 03/02/09 11:42 PM

WASHINGTON - A big snowstorm blanketed the eastern United States on Monday, prompting the federal government to delay the opening of its offices as up to a foot of snow canceled flights and snarled commutes.

Schools were closed from Virginia to Maine and thousands of people were left without power from the late-winter storm, which reached as far south as Alabama and Georgia.

In New York City, more than 1 million schoolchildren got the day off but financial markets were expected to open at their normal times. Boston closed its schools as well.

News media reported that hundreds of flights in New York and Boston were disrupted.

In Washington, the federal government said it would open two hours late as commuters coped with up to 10 inches of snow.

Gusting winds of up to 40 mph complicated efforts to keep roads and runways clear. Airline travelers faced canceled flights or significant delays, a spokeswoman for the Washington region's airports said.