Delays at MIA, FLL as travelers brace for severe weather in Midwest, Northeast

MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - Travelers heading to Eastern Seaboard and Midwest states from South Florida will be dealing with severe winter weather this weekend, and local airports are already experiencing dozens of flight delays.

Passengers flying out of Miami International Airport geared up for travel trouble, as a winter storm continued to work its way east from the Midwest on Friday.

Some local travelers said they’re uncertain as to whether or not they will be able to fly back to South Florida.

“I’m like assuming that we’re not going to get back,” said Adam Sticca, who is flying to Rhode Island.

“I’m afraid, though. I guess I won’t be coming back,” said Cindy Torres, who is heading to New York.

Forecasters have predicted blizzard-like conditions during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, and as much as two feet of snow in New England by Sunday. Nearly 100 million people are under some kind of a winter storm watch.

Over at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, traveler Rafael Quintero waited for his flight to Boston, Friday afternoon.

“I’ve heard some of it is pretty bad. There’s supposed to be not that good weather,” he said.

New York-bound Joann DeGaglia was not as fortunate.

“I’ve actually been here and had to call friends to come and get me ’cause my flight was cancelled right as I got to the gate,” she said.

FLL officials have reported 35 delays, 23 arrivals and 12 departures. Most of those flights are headed to New York state.

The freezing forecast means many travelers may have a longer holiday weekend than they expected.

“We already got a notification from American saying, if you want to change your flight, you can for free,” said Brandon Sticca, who is also heading to Rhode Island.

A winter storm warning was issued across the Dakotas, Great Lakes and Northeast on Friday. New York is already seeing light snow, and it’s expected to be heavier.

“I’m definitely not ready for that. I was not expecting that,” said Torres. “I got my coat, though.”

Adam said he’s concerned about what will happen once they get there.

“I’m worried we’ll get stuck in Rhode Island with my extended family from Long Island,” he said. “That would be less than ideal.”

MIA reported several delays going to and from cities in the Midwest like Chicago, where the storm is already making its mark.

In Omaha, Nebraska, a Southwest Airlines flight headed to Las Vegas slid off an icy runway after landing at Eppley Airfield, causing the airport to shut down. No one was hurt.

As parts of the country brace for a winter blast, travelers flying out of South Florida said they’re taking the necessary measures to go home.

“We try to accommodate accordingly,” said Quintero. “Maybe flying out early, leaving earlier, stuff like that.”

In Boston, residents are preparing to hunker down and rushing to the stores to grab whatever supplies they may need.

Officials said they are keeping an eye on the radar.

“Every report we’ve seen so far says that once it starts snowing, it’s going to snow hard,” said Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

“When you’re up in the sky, you have to come down, so if you’re coming down to a storm, you don’t know what to expect,” said DeGaglia.

The longest delay at FLL set flyers back more than an hour and a half. More delays and cancellations are expected throughout the holiday weekend. Airline officials urged travelers to check on their flight status before heading over to the airport.

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