A massive winter storm was barreling toward Washington D.C. on Friday, with the system poised to drop near-record snowfall on the U.S. capital before walloping New York and other East Coast cities with blizzard conditions. About 2,300 flights have been preemptively canceled for Friday ahead of the storm, and that number is expected to rise.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced Thursday that Metrorail, Metrobus and MetroAccess service will be suspended during the blizzard, according to a news release. At 11 p.m. Friday, the train system will be shut down and remain closed through Sunday. Bus service will be shut down at 5 p.m. Friday and the MetroAccess transit service for customers with disabilities will be suspended Friday after 6 p.m.
American Airlines has canceled all Friday's flights out of the Charlotte-Douglas airport and travelers may change flights without penalty in select cities listed here.
Jet Blue, Regionals, ViaAir, Air Canada, Lufthansa and Southwest Airlines have all canceled Friday Charlotte flights.
Airports in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore area will see flight cancelations beginning Friday afternoon with all flights canceled Saturday, reports the Associated Press. Flights are expected to resume at noon on Sunday.
All Saturday afternoon American flights from New York's three airlines will be canceled and are expected to resume Sunday, AP also reports.
AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said the storm taking aim at Washington could rank among the biggest snowfalls on record, eclipsing the "Snowmageddon" storm of 2010 that dropped 17.8 inches (45.2).
Federal employees in the Washington area were told their offices would close at noon on Friday to allow them to get home safely before the snow begins piling up in the afternoon. Public schools were canceled.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which includes the second-busiest U.S. subway system, took the rare step of suspending operations from late on Friday through Sunday.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio urged motorists to stay off roads starting on Friday amid icy and whiteout conditions.