Snowed In! Winter Storm Snarls Flights, Roads

Travelers heading out of town early for the Christmas holiday were dealt a mighty blow as heavy snowfall pelted the mid-Atlantic states.

More than 1,200 flights were canceled today at seven major airports, and the effects rippled out throughout the country.

The Chicago Bears flight to Baltimore was canceled at 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning because of the winter storm, according to ABC News affiliate WJLA in Baltimore. The Baltimore region was expecting more than 10 inches of snow.

Canceled flights and stranded motorists beset the Northeast Saturday on the last traffic-heavy weekend before the Christmas holiday. Up to 20 inches of snow have blanketed the region.

All flights serving Reagan Washington National and Baltimore Washington International (BWI) airports were canceled.

Marisa Morin said she arrived at National airport today for a 9:30 a.m. flight to New Hampshire but said Tuesday probably will be the earliest she can get back home.

"The storm is going to move up to where I live, and I won't be able to land. That will be awful," said Morin, a Georgetown University freshman. "They were supposed to have flights [Sunday] morning, but they said those will probably be canceled. So I am keeping my fingers crossed."

Officials said National will reopen Sunday at 6 a.m. at the earliest. As of 2 p.m. today, nearby BWI was shut down, with more than 150 departing flights canceled earlier in the day.

Flights at the D.C. airports will be operating by 9 a.m. Sunday. But officials did not expect affected Washington-area passengers to be fully accommodated until Monday, officials said.

Even the president was sideswiped by the inclement weather: After landing at Andrews Air Force Base in suburban Washington today from climate control talks in Copenhagen, President Obama rode in a motorcade back to the White House instead of taking his usual helicopter because of the treacherous conditions.

Passengers Stay Calm When Flights Are Canceled

Sharon Ledgister-Reid and her 3-year-old son, Maximillian, were headed to Jamaica for Christmas break when they were told that their flight had been canceled. They arrived at 5 a.m. for an 8 a.m. flight out of National.

The Jamaica native said that she wasn't upset that she had not received a call from the airline telling her that her flight had been canceled.

"You're using logic," Ledgister-Reid said. "I have no idea, we're just trying to go with the flow. ... As we say, there's nothing we can do. Getting upset doesn't help the situation, so bring your patience."

Other passengers could also be seen taking the flight delay in stride.

Tye Trethewey wore shorts and flip-flops while waiting for his flight to Charlotte, N.C. He was calm about his flight's status.

"It's standby, maybe, possibly," he said, as he picked up a slice of pizza.

Other airline updates, as of early afternoon Saturday:

Continental: Eighty mainline flights were canceled, and about 20 more were expected to be canceled by the end of the day.

United: More than 500 flights were canceled, including flights scheduled to arrive in New York, Newark, N.J., Philadelphia and Boston airports. United urged customers to check the Web site rather than call because passengers should be automatically rebooked and that should be reflected online. Special attention was being paid to Sunday travel out of D.C., including operating "extra" flights in the morning.

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