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Hundreds Of Holiday Flights Canceled As Winter Storm Hits East Coast

One of the busiest travel days of the year just got a whole lot more chaotic.

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A nor’easter making its way up the East Coast is causing airlines to cancel hundreds of flights, playing havoc with thousands of people’s Thanksgiving travel plans.

From Florida to Maine, widespread precipitation was expected into Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Snow is forecast at higher elevations, particularly in New England, while sleet is expected in New York and New Jersey.

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In Washington, D.C., a light amount of snow fell Wednesday, while north and west of the city saw about 6 inches of snow.

AFP / Getty Images PAUL J. RICHARDS

Airline passengers at Dulles International Airport arrive to snow showers on the busiest travel day of the year Nov. 26, 2014.

Up to 7 inches of snow fell across central and western Maryland on Wednesday, which made highway travel extremely dangerous.

AP Alex Brandon

Above cars are seen on the Washington Beltway in Camp Springs. Police reported numerous accidents along Frederick County, where roads were also slippery.

An estimated 46 million Americans are expected to travel more than 50 miles for the Thanksgiving holiday, according to AAA.

On Tuesday, airlines preemptively canceled more than 200 flights scheduled for Wednesday. By noon Wednesday, that number had more than doubled to more than 480, according to the flight tracking website Flight Aware.

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The U.S. airports with the highest number of flight cancellations Wednesday were Newark Liberty, LaGuardia, Philadelphia International, and Reagan National.

Delta, United, and American have all waived customary fees for flight changes for those flying in and out of the northeast, but the large volume of people traveling posed a difficulty for those seeking to rebook.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — which oversees JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty airports — said it has snow equipment at the ready and extra personnel on duty to handle the expected conditions.

"Depending on the projected snowfall levels … staff are prepared to work around-the-clock in 12-hour shifts if necessary," the Port Authority said.

My flight home got cancelled so this Thanksgiving is off to a great start 😐

Ryan Heard@rheard5Follow

My flight home got cancelled so this Thanksgiving is off to a great start

10:04 AM - 26 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

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Every flight to Boston was cancelled except ours pray for me

Lauren@laurennsophiieFollow

Every flight to Boston was cancelled except ours pray for me

10:49 AM - 26 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Mikes flight from Richmond to Newark was cancelled 😞 I really hope he's home on Thanksgiving

Shauna Silva@ShaunaLSilvaFollow

Mikes flight from Richmond to Newark was cancelled I really hope he's home on Thanksgiving

11:53 AM - 26 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Conditions at Newark Liberty:

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Can't stay away from airports. At Newark on my way to Columbia, MO; looks like I am... https://t.co/Ja1FuEXBId

Markus Schomer@mschomerFollow

Can't stay away from airports. At Newark on my way to Columbia, MO; looks like I am... https://t.co/Ja1FuEXBId

5:53 AM - 26 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Conditions at Reagan National:

Philadelphia International:

David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.

Contact David Mack at david.mack@buzzfeed.com.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.

Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at michelle@buzzfeed.com.

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