Northeast braces for huge storm; thousands of flights canceled - FOX 35 News Orlando

Northeast braces for massive storm; thousands of flights canceled

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Seniors on their class trip from Leonardo da Vinci High in Buffalo, N.Y., nap while stuck at Orlando International Airport until at least 7 p.m. (Alan Rosko, Fox 35 News) Seniors on their class trip from Leonardo da Vinci High in Buffalo, N.Y., nap while stuck at Orlando International Airport until at least 7 p.m. (Alan Rosko, Fox 35 News)

BOSTON (AP) - Schools across New England have closed and thousands of flights have been scratched as the Northeast hunkers down for a storm poised to dump up to 3 feet of snow.

The snow is expected to start Friday morning, with the heaviest amounts falling at night and into Saturday. Wind gusts could reach 75 mph. Widespread power failures were feared, along with flooding in coastal areas still recovering from Superstorm Sandy in October.

Boston could get up to 3 feet of snow, while New York City was expecting 10 to 14 inches. To the south, Philadelphia was looking at a possible 2 to 5 inches.

Amtrak says its Northeast trains will stop running Friday afternoon.

In New England, it could prove to be among the top 10 snowstorms in history.

United Airlines said it has canceled 900 flights for Friday in advance of the storm. Delta Air Lines Inc. canceled 740. American Airlines was scrapping about 200, according to airline tracking website FlightAware.

On Thursday, the biggest weather problems are in Chicago. O'Hare has seen 108 canceled departures.

Airlines issued so-called "weather waivers," allowing passengers flying in the storm-affected areas to change their flight date without paying a change fee.

In recent years airlines have tried to get ahead of big storms by canceling flights in advance rather than crossing their fingers that they could operate in bad weather. Travelers can still face dayslong delays in getting home, but the advanced cancellations generally mean they get more notice and can wait out the storm at home or a hotel, rather than on a cot at the airport.

In addition reservation systems have been programmed to automatically rebook passengers when flights are canceled. And travelers now receive notifications by email, phone or text message.

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