Washington-area agencies dig out, reopen

After two days of closures due to more than a foot of snow that fell over the weekend, the Office of Personnel Management announced Tuesday that federal agencies in the Washington area would reopen Wednesday.

Agencies will operate under an unscheduled leave policy, meaning that employees who are unable to report for work can take unscheduled leave for the entire workday. Emergency employees are expected to report for work on time.

Most agencies were closed for the President's Day holiday on Monday, and remained shuttered on Tuesday because the heavy snowfall paralyzed local transit systems. Only emergency employees were expected to report to work.

Between 16 and 24 inches of snow fell on Sunday and Monday in areas around Washington. Reagan National and Baltimore-Washington International Airports were closed all day Monday, and Dulles International Airport operated on only a limited basis. All three airports reopened Tuesday, but many flights were delayed or canceled. Other Washington-area transit systems, including the Metrorail system, operated on only limited schedules.

Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James made the decision Tuesday to reopen agencies after consulting with local officials in the Washington area.

OPM provides updated information on the operating status of Washington-area agencies on its Web site.

OPM's announcement applies to employees (including those who telecommute) who work in executive branch agencies located inside the Capital Beltway. It does not apply to postal workers or federal contractors.

Agencies outside the Beltway and in other cities across the country announce their operating status individually.

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