Hundreds of East Coast flights cancelled during big snowfall

The Capitol dome is seen in the background as workers use heavy equipment to clear snow from the tarmac at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. After pummeling wide swaths of the South, a winter storm dumped nearly a foot of snow in Washington as it marched Northeast and threatened more power outages, traffic headaches and widespread closures for millions of residents. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

WASHINGTON (AP/WAVY) — Hundreds of flights have been canceled up and down the Atlantic Coast as a result of a major winter storm.

Washington Dulles International and Ronald Reagan Washington National airports have been closed since about 6 a.m. Thursday. Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokesman Rob Yingling said crews are making good progress clearing runways and taxiways, but it’s not yet clear when the airports will reopen.

Reagan National was virtually silent Thursday morning, with most vendors closed for business. Robin Church of Washington was hoping to land a standby seat to Florida with her husband, betting that most other passengers would be no-shows.

Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport remained open throughout the storm, but spokesman Jonathan Dean says all but a handful of Thursday’s flights have been canceled.

With so many complications at airports throughout the East Coast, flights out of Hampton Roads were also tricky, with cancellations and delays out of Norfolk International Airport. Robert Bowen with the Norfolk Airport Authority said about 75 percent of flights were affected by the winter storm. Monitors showed dozens of cancelled departures and arrivals from cities like Washington, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Newark and New York City.

“It’s going to be very difficult to travel to a lot of the areas along the Atlantic coast today due to the weather conditions,” Bowen said. “Any flights heading to Charlotte or Atlanta are currently affected to the south and then to the north, from Washington on up to New York and possibly Boston.”

Bowen said this year has been one of the busiest winters in recent years for airport crews.

“Last night was our third night in the last three or four weeks of having the snow crews out here working, so it’s been a little bit more than a normal Hampton Roads winter for us,” he said.

In Newport News, at Williamsburg International Airport, all US Airways flights were cancelled for most of the afternoon and evening Thursday due to airport closings in Philadelphia and Charlotte.

Richmond International Airport experienced almost the same problem with 126 out of 144 scheduled flights cancelled as of 2:30 p.m. At least eight flights scheduled for Friday have already been cancelled.

Several Amtrak trains were also affected by the snow storm. Amtrak plans to resume their long distance rail service on Friday, February 14. They are also contacting customers to nofity them of cancellations.

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