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Historic East Coast Blizzard Ruins Flights For Thousands

Screengrab of map from FlightAware showing on time, delayed and cancelled flights in the past four hours.


The blizzard approaching the East Coast this weekend has cancelled more than 6,000 flights across the country, including departures from the West Coast. 

About 2,900 flights cancelled for Friday were in Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina according to flight tracking service FlightAware. The other 3,300 trip cancellations came from Philadelphia, Washington and New York. Almost all flights into these cities are cancelled.

The feared snowstorm sloshed from the Ohio Valley into Virginia this morning. And the snow began falling in Washington in early afternoon, a couple of hours earlier than predicted.

Daniel Petersen, forecaster at the National Weather Service's prediction center in College Park, Maryland, says it looks just like promised with accumulations threatening 30 inches or more in some places.

For people living from Washington to Philadelphia, Petersen had some simple advice: hunker down. States of emergency were called for those states within that range and the District of Columbia.

All major airlines have issued waivers for travel over the weekend, allowing passengers to rebook onto earlier or later flights to avoid the storms. For those stuck at an airport, consider calling customer service even as you wait in line to speak to a representative. Also consider sending a tweet to your airline.

By Sunday afternoon, however, the airlines hope to be back to a full schedule.

The FlightAware Misery Map can be used to see which flights are delayed or cancelled.

Capital Public Radio Staff / AP contributed to this story