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Hundreds of thousands without power after Eastern snowstorm

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Federal offices in Washington will be closed Monday
  • More than 300,000 from Pennsylvania to Virginia without electricity Sunday morning
  • Dulles Airport resumes some flights; flights still canceled at Reagan National, BWI
  • 32.4 inches of snow at Dulles breaks old record

(CNN) -- Michelle Timberlake didn't expect to venture into the weekend blizzard that blanketed much of the mid-Atlantic.

But the interior designer who normally wears high heels to work found herself running through hip-high snow Saturday morning when about 40 cows escaped from the pasture on her and her husband's Boyce, Virginia, farm in search of food and shelter.

"This was not what I imagined for myself," she said Sunday, laughing at the memory.

Luckily, the cows were corralled -- thanks to a bale of hay -- and the snow stopped, but not before more than 30 inches had been dumped over two days in parts of the region.

Timberlake said she and her neighbors were gearing up for the next weather system, expected to hit the area as early as Tuesday. The National Weather Service is forecasting more than 5 inches of snow and winds up to 25 mph in the Washington and Baltimore, Maryland, areas.

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"Everybody's just trying to clean up and get a little bit ahead of the game before the next round comes," said Timberlake, whose farm is located about two hours west of Washington.

More than 300,000 people from Pennsylvania to Virginia were without electricity Sunday, utility companies said. In many cases, heavy snow brought down power lines.

"I'm not sure how many people will have their power back on by Super Bowl time, but things are going really well today," said Joe Gilbert with a Dominion Power crew working Sunday afternoon to restore power to about 3,000 in one McLean, Virginia, neighborhood. "It's good weather and we're making good progress so hopefully everybody's power will be back on."

Timberlake said homes around the corner from her farm are without power and have been told it won't be back on until Friday.

"Since the heavy, wet snow is still bringing trees down, we are still seeing new outages occur," Allegheny Power said in a statement Sunday. "Damage assessment is ongoing, but overall estimated times for the restoration of service have not been determined."

The utility company provides electricity to customers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia. Nearly 135,000 of its customers had no power, the majority of them, or 92,295, reside in Pennsylvania, the company said. Outages were also reported in Delaware and New Jersey.

Residents, businesses and airports were trying to dig out Sunday. Good Samaritans in McLean, Virginia, stopped to help drivers stuck in snow drifts.

"So much for going to the Kennedy Center today," said one woman behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz as about five men shoveled and pushed her car out of deep snow. "We're going home."

CNN iReporter Sean Conrad described his town of Rockville, Maryland, Saturday as empty and photos showed streets recognizable only by traffic lights. The city got 25.5 inches.

Conrad told CNN that many roads still were covered by snow Sunday, even though snow plows were working 24 hours a day to clear them. Only a few businesses opened Sunday, and those that did operated with skeleton crews, Conrad said.

Federal offices in Washington will be closed Monday, though emergency employees still are expected to work, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management said Sunday.

Air traffic in Washington picked up slowly Sunday after a day of cancellations. A record 32.4 inches of snow fell on Dulles International Airport over two days, breaking a January 7-8, 1996, record of 23.2 inches. The quick-falling flakes forced Dulles and the other two main Washington-Baltimore area airports to cancel all flights Saturday.

Dulles reopened Sunday to limited service, according to Rob Yingling, spokesman for Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

Airport personnel were still removing snow from the Baltimore-Washington International Airport on Sunday, and it remained uncertain when flights would resume, spokesman Jonathan Dean told CNN.

Reagan National Airport was still closed early Sunday afternoon as crews continued to plow snow and chip away at 5 inches of ice that developed overnight, Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority spokeswoman Tara Hamilton said. The airport accommodates just under 700 flights a day, she said.

Philadelphia International Airport in Pennsylvania racked up 28.5 inches of snow, the National Weather Service. The airport was closed Saturday, but it reopened Sunday and was expected to operate at 60 percent capacity, spokeswoman Victoria Lupica said.

Amtrak canceled several trains Sunday after trees and power lines fell onto portions of its tracks, the transit company said. Dozens of Greyhound routes in the Mid-Atlantic states also were canceled, the bus company said on its Web site. And state officials have advised drivers to stay off the roads.

CNN's Sarah Aarthun, Justin Lear, Sarah Lee and Rachel Rodriguez contributed to this report.

 
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