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Federal Offices in DC Close as Major Snowstorm Heads East

Man clears snow from the Millennium Park skating rink in Chicago. (Brian Kersey/Getty Images)(WASHINGTON) -- Federal offices in Washington, D.C. will be closed on Wednesday as the nation's capital prepares to be hit by what could be the biggest snowstorm there in three years.

In a statement Wednesday, the Office of Personnel and Management said "non-emergency employees will be granted excused absence for the number of hours they were scheduled to work."

The storm is expected to bring 6 to 10 inches of snow inside the Beltway, up to 14 inches in the western suburbs, 10 to 18 inches in western Virginia, and up to 6 inches in the eastern suburbs.  The heaviest snowfall will be on Wednesday and it is forecast to end by night time.

Elsewhere, 3 to 6 inches of the white stuff is expected in Philadelphia, with rain mixing in from time to time.  New York City is forecast to get the same amount of snow, with more than 6 inches possible for eastern Long Island and just north of the city.  Snowfall in both cities will end on Thursday, as the storm moves on to Boston and New England.

Already, the system has wrecked havoc on the Midwest, dropping 8 to 12 inches of snow from Minneapolis to Chicago, crippling transportation.  

As of Wednesday morning, over 1,600 flights have been canceled, according to FlightAware.com.  The Washington, D.C., area has the most cancellations, followed by Baltimore, Chicago and Atlanta.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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