More than 4,000 flights already cancelled

More than 4,000 flights already cancelled
13 Mar

More than 4,000 flights have already been cancelled for Tuesday as the incoming Northeast blizzard is predicted to cripple the country's air travel.

Authorities have advised 50 million people to prepare for what could be the worst storm this winter season from New York City to Boston.

Winter Storm Stella is expected to sweep the New York region with possible blizzard conditions, as experts predict the region could see 12 to 24 inches of wind-blasted snow from Monday to early Wednesday.

In preparing for the huge storm, airline officials have already begun cancelling flights ahead of time.

More than 1,955 flights have been cancelled already for Monday, and a whopping 4,066 have been cancelled for Tuesday.

Tuesday's cancellations includes roughly 880 flights on Southwest Airlines, 616 flights on JetBlue and 524 flights on American Airlines.

More cancellations were expected, with Southwest planning to stop almost all of its Northeast flights Tuesday. Other airlines were considering similar moves.

Major US airlines will allow ticketed travelers affected by the storm to change their flights without an additional fee.

Officials are asking those with travel plans early this week to check with airlines ahead of time to see about possible cancellations or delays.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was installing hundreds of pieces of snow equipment at the three New York area airports.

Thousands of tons of salt and sand were prepared for airport roads, parking lots, bridges and tunnels.

Authorities are warning residents to prepare for the possibility of widespread power outages, road closures and flight disruptions.

'Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous. Only travel in an emergency. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency,' the weather service said.

New York City issued a snow alert for Monday night into Tuesday, expecting snowfall rates of up to 2 to 4 inches per hour Tuesday morning and afternoon, with gusts of up to 50 mph.

'This would certainly be the biggest snowstorm of the 2017 winter season in New York City,' said Faye Barthold, a weather service meteorologist based on Long Island.

Mayor Bill de Blasio warned New Yorkers that 'besides the snow, it will be cold,' while officials recommended that people avoid driving and use mass transit when possible.

Blowing snow and strong winds could lead to whiteout conditions with visibility as poor as a quarter mile, the service said.

Sub-freezing temperatures were forecast in the upper 20s Fahrenheit.