Washington (AFP) - Washington's entire underground railway system will be shut for the weekend along with city bus routes, officials said Thursday, as the US capital braces for a massive snow storm.
The city is expecting up to two feet (61 centimeters) of snow from Friday afternoon into Saturday, along with strong winds, and authorities -- unused to handling major winter storms -- are taking extraordinary precautions.
Washington's metro system will close at 11:00 pm Friday (0400 GMT Saturday) and will not reopen until Monday morning. Trains will be stored in the tunnels to protect them from the elements.
Bus service will end even earlier, with the last buses leaving depots at 5:00 pm Friday, and service to resume Monday.
"The actions we are taking today are all in the interest of our customers' and employees' safety, and will help us return to service once the storm passes and the snow is cleared," said the metro system's general manager Paul Wiedefeld.
The metro system serves about 700,000 customers a day in the Washington area, according to its website. It is the second busiest in the United States after New York.