PHOTO: Winter Storm Stella could dump up to two feet of snow in the Northeast. (Photo via Flickr/Sayamindu Dasgupta)
Travelers in the Midwest and Northeast can anticipate significant weather-related challenges to start the week as Winter Storm Stella continues its push across the U.S.
Stella is expected to bring several inches of snow to parts of the Midwest Monday before intensifying into a significant Nor'easter and dumping up to two feet of snow in places across the Northeast, including a handful of major cities along the I-95 corridor.
According to Weather.com, Stella has the potential to be the heaviest snowstorm this season in Boston and New York City.
As of 9:40 a.m. ET Monday, more than 810 flights into or out of the U.S. have been canceled, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.com.
Meanwhile, more than 1,100 flights scheduled for Tuesday have already been scrapped, with a majority of those cancellations coming at Baltimore/Washington International Airport. BWI has also canceled nearly 50 flights scheduled for Wednesday.
Cancellations are beginning to pile up at airports in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York and Boston as well.
The majority of Monday's cancellations have occurred in Chicago, where O'Hare International Airport has canceled more than 400 flights and Chicago Midway International Airport has canceled more than 160.
Fortunately, airlines have already waived change fees for customers traveling in the storm's path.
USA Today reported Southwest Airlines expects to ground just about all of its flights in the Northeast on Tuesday, with other carriers likely to follow suit.
In addition to snarling air travel across the region, Stella could make driving extremely dangerous, with some roads likely to become impassable as blizzard conditions develop. The combination of strong winds and heavy snow could also prompt power outages in some areas.
Amtrak said that service alerts would be posted on its website and encouraged customers to stay updated on their train status.
Stella is also bad news for travelers planning to visit Washington, D.C. to see the cherry blossoms this spring. The beloved blossoms have already been hurt by fluctuating temperatures, and National Park Service officials say if low temperatures reach 24 degrees, it could kill up to 90 percent of the cherry blossoms.
As the storm strengthens and ultimately arrives in the Northeast Monday night, it's likely to result in additional travel-related cancellations. Therefore, travelers are encouraged to stay alert, patient and exercise caution.