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A snowstorm set to cross the Northeast starting Monday is expected to drop up to 2 feet of snow in some areas, wreaking havoc on the travel plans of millions.
Major airlines had already pre-emptively canceled more than 1,650 U.S. flights Monday and more than 1,450 others for Tuesday, according to the aviation tracking service FlightAware. The biggest toll was at the New York-area airports — more than 1,000 flights were canceled ahead of time in Newark, New Jersey, along with more than 600 at JFK and almost 500 at LaGuardia.
Most airlines promised to offer refunds and hassle-free rescheduling for people planning to fly to, from or through cities like Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Worcester, Massachusetts, on Monday and Tuesday. A statement from Delta said it would even provide full refunds for flights that were significantly delayed.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey warned commuters and travelers to check with their bus, train and plane carriers before leaving home, but it said they would provide cots and essentials to terminals for people who become stranded.
The PA also said it had "thousands of tons" of salt and sand and "hundreds of thousands" of anti-ice chemicals on hand for bridges, tunnels and airports. New Jersey Transit will also cross honor tickets for buses and trains Monday through Wednesday to give people more options.
"With a major winter storm approaching the state, I urge New Yorkers to take all necessary precautions and make preparations for the possibility that commutes will be disrupted on Monday and Tuesday," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which serves the Long Island Railroad and the New York subway system and buses, was preparing for the storm with extra crews, salting and chains on tires, but "scheduling adjustments" were likely, it said in a statement.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would deploy 500 salt spreaders in advance of the storm and 1,500 snow plows to clear 6,000 miles of roads once the snow starts. De Blasio told New Yorkers to stay off the roads Tuesday because "road conditions in particular will be treacherous. There's no other word for it. They will be treacherous."
"We are facing, most likely, one of the largest snowstorms in the history of this city," he said.
Amtrak said it was planning to operate trains on a normal schedule Monday but "may re-evaluate as conditions warrant."
Connecticut was readying to send out its entire fleet of snow plows during the storm, which Gov. Dannel Malloy warned would have a significant impact on the state. The shore was also on a coastal flood watch, he saidn in a statement.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said 700 pieces of storm equipment and 35,000 tons of salt were ready for use. "Our city has been through blizzards before, and I am confident we are prepared," he said.
Agencies like the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency were urging those who do choose to travel by car to fill up their gas tanks and keep emergency kits stocked with essentials like blankets, high-calorie foods, tools and tire chains. But the best option is for people to stay off the roads, MEMA warned, adding, "Travel may become impossible & life threatening."
M. Alex Johnson of NBC News contributed to this report.