SEATTLE (NewsNation) — A major winter storm is expected to disrupt travel for millions of vacationing travelers, with hundreds of cancellations and delays already impacting airports across the country.
As of 6 a.m. Tuesday, more than 400 flights have been canceled and nearly 300 flights delayed, according to informed flight
A winter storm warning with very cold temperatures has been issued for the city of Seattle and much of western Washington through Tuesday.
Heavy snowfall Monday night prompted the city of Seattle to send out an alert urging people to avoid traveling Tuesday if possible, informing them that emergency shelters were open.
Officials said the heaviest snow will fall on Tuesday. Snow in the mountains could continue through Wednesday.
The weather service said people should plan for difficult trips with potentially dangerous conditions. Heavy snowfall, poor visibility and blackout conditions prompted officials to tweet that the Washington State Patrol would enforce the vehicle chain requirements.
The system is forecast to become a major winter storm and blizzard for the Midwest later this week. Forecasters anticipate the storm to greatly strengthen in the center of the nation by midweek and could disrupt travel in several Midwestern cities and states Thursday through Friday.
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), 2022 is anticipated to be the third busiest year for vacation travel since AAA began tracking in 2000.
AAA estimates that almost 113 million Americans plan to travel between December 23 and January 2 — an increase of 3.6 million people from last year and approaching pre-pandemic numbers. Additionally, 102 million Americans are expected to drive to their vacation destinations as gasoline prices are on track to fall below $3 a gallon by Christmas.
Flights at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport were delayed and canceled throughout Monday. About 500 domestic flights in and out of the airport had been delayed, with 33 cancellations in total, according to informed flightan online tracker.
As of 6 a.m. Tuesday, there have been 170 flight cancellations and 33 delays in and out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport alone.
The airport remains open and stated on their website that you are aware of the storm and “ready for snow”.
“Snow is in the forecast and our crew is ready to roll – literally! That means removing snow and ice from the airfield and runways and clearing and thawing parking lots.” the official account of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport tweeted.
While the airport remains open, he urges travelers to periodically check the status of flights and information.
Alaska Airlines said it also canceled about 100 flights on Tuesday, “with more cancellations possible, depending on the weather,” KOMO-TV reported.
Up-to-date winter travel information for motorists can be found at the Washington Department of Transportation website.
Associated Press contributed to this report.