TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – New Jersey state government offices are opening two hours late Monday as the state begins digging out from the first major snow storm of the season.

State Police spokesman Sgt. Stephen Jones says the delayed start was ordered by Sunday night state Senate President Steve Sweeney, who is acting governor in while Gov. Chris Christie and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno are out of state. Sweeney has also declared a state of emergency, giving officials the power to close roads, and take other actions, if needed.

Forecasters are expecting 12 to 20 inches in most areas by the time the snow stops early Monday. Blizzard warnings remain in effect for the eastern half of the state, while winter storm warnings were in place for western New Jersey.

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