With one of the largest blizzards to in recent history expected to bring havoc along the East coast of the United States this weekend, airlines have began to preemptively cancel flights.
According to airline tracking service FlightAware, airlines have canceled more than 5,000 flight within, into or out of the US.
More than 2,500 flights were canceled on Friday, and roughly the same number have been canceled for Saturday.
Thus far, the airports hardest hit by cancellations have been concentrated along the mid-Atlantic region, with Charlotte and the Washington, DC area airports bearing the brunt.
As the storm moves north, Philadelphia, New York and Boston are ramping up their cancellations in preparation for the winter storm Jonas’ impact.
Furthermore, the blizzard has created a backup that has rippled across the nation, with Atlanta and Chicago each reporting more than 100 flight cancellations on Friday.
As a result, airlines such as Delta, United, Virgin America, JetBlue and American have offered passengers with tickets for travel to certain snow-affected airports the opportunity to change their flights schedules free of charge.
For airlines, these cancellations are precautionary measures meant to ensure the safety of the passengers, crew and their multi-million dollar equipment.
Predicting the path and severity of the these types of winter megastorm is an inexact science. Last year, the New York area was expected to be clobbered by a massive blizzard that missed the city, unleashing its fury upon Boston instead.
Check back here for updates on further flight delays and cancellations.
We will suspend flights at our Dulles hub and other mid-Atlantic airports starting Friday, Jan. 22, at 4 p.m. ET.
— United (@united) January 21, 2016