As storm looms, widespread flight cancellations expected at Dulles


Passengers lined up in LaGuardia Airport after it was reopened following an evacuation Tuesday. (Keith Bedford/Reuters)

A storm is bringing freezing rain to the Washington region on Tuesday evening and into Wednesday, which should create problems for air travel as well as during the Wednesday morning commute.

Dulles International Airport is expecting widespread flight cancellations between 8 p.m. on Tuesday and noon on Wednesday, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (which oversees Dulles and Reagan National Airport). Travelers should check with their airlines about flight status before heading to the airport.

While National Airport could see some cancellations based on the weather in other cities, MWAA isn’t expecting a particularly heavy impact at that airport. Still, travelers should make sure to check with their airlines just to be safe.

There have been more than 1,400 flights canceled Tuesday, according to FlightAware. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport has had the heaviest impact, with more than 300 flights through that hub canceled, but there are also dozens of cancellations at airports in Kansas City, Dallas, Boston, Denver and Indianapolis. (There have also been other, non-weather-related problems: Travelers at LaGuardia Airport in New York were also temporarily evacuated Tuesday from one of the terminals there after a report of smoke coming out of a bag.)

Additional cancellations are expected on Wednesday, with snow forecast in Chicago likely to create problems that can reverberate out across the country. As the winter weather has battered travelers, airlines have begun relaxing their fees for changing flights. JetBlue, United and Delta were among the airlines easing their policies.

Schools around the region have already begun reacting to the looming storm. Prince George’s County school officials canceled all afternoon and evening activities on Tuesday, while Howard County also canceled all athletic practices, games and other school events on Tuesday afternoon and evening. Loudoun County’s schools will close at 6 p.m. Tuesday, with all games and practices canceled.

For the latest closures as they are announced, stick with our homepage.

This post has been updated to note that Dulles is bracing for cancellations until noon on Wednesday.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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