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Thousands of flights have been cancelled ahead of a severe winter snowstorm sweeping across huge swathes of the eastern US.
As much as 24 inches of snow is expected to fall around Washington DC, prompting airlines to issue waivers for travel to allow passengers to rebook flights.
There are warnings the blizzard, nicknamed Winter Storm Jonas, could cause power outages and bring road and air travel to a halt with at least 15 states affected.
Almost 2,000 mainly domestic flights have been cancelled today (Friday) as a precaution, but there are warnings that transatlantic services will also be affected.
US National Weather Service director Louis Uccellini said the system had “the potential of being an extremely dangerous storm that could affect over 50 million people”.
He added: “We are talking about a potentially paralysing storm that is already setting up.”
States of emergency have already been declared in Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Winds of up to 30mph are forecast for Manhattan on Saturday, and even stronger gusts in Washington and Baltimore.
There are warnings the blizzard could cause power outages and will bring road and air travel to a halt.
Virgin Atlantic warned: “We are expecting severe snowfall in New York City and IAD (Washington Dulles) on Saturday that may cause significant disruption to our flights.”
Passengers due to travel to and from both cities are “strongly recommended” to rebook their flights.
British Airways urged passengers due to travel to check their flight status due to snow storms expected to affect flights on the US east coast today and tomorrow.
United Airlines is shutting down operations from this afternoon out of Washington Dulles, and a few other airports in the Washington metro area.
The carrier hopes to resume some operations on Sunday.
“The severe weather conditions will lead to many cancellations and delays throughout the region, including at our hubs at Dulles international airport near Washington DC and Newark Liberty airport in Newark, New Jersey,” United said.
American Airlines said the weather has “created many challenges” for this weekend, while Delta Air Lines listed 35 airports that are expected to be affected.
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