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      Winter storm causes cancellations/delays at Hancock Airport

      I-95 Westbrook Ct. / C DOT

      The snowstorm pounding airports up and down the East Coast is taking its toll on flights in and out of Hancock Airport.

      The airport is reporting many cancelled flights as of Wednesday evening due to east coast delays caused by the winter storm. These are the problem routes with cancellations tonight: US Airways to La Guardia and Boston, Delta to JFK and Detroit, Continental to Newark, JetBlue to JFK.

      Interim Airport Commissioner Christina Reale said, "it's going to take a few days to get back to normal." Reale added, "Folks should call your airline for the latest flight information."

      Earlier Wednesday the airlines, hoping to avoid a repeat of last month's storm that stranded thousands of passengers, cancelled thousands of flights ahead of the storm as a precaution. More than 3,000 flights were cancelled Tuesday and another 1,000 Wednesday. More than a quarter of the flights coming into and leaving of Hancock were cancelled. Almost all of the cancelled flights were heading to JFK, LaGuardia or Newark airports. Nearly all flights to Boston were cancelled, and several flights to Atlanta, Philadelphia and Charlotte were cancelled as well.

      At Hancock, travellers like Utica's Anthony Cortese were keeping their fingers crossed. "Luckily they just put me on this flight. I didn't really hear anything about the weather, so I'm hoping there's no cancellations on my way through," he says.

      To make sure their flights left as planned, some travelers like John Comisi of Ithaca checked their flight's status multiple times before leaving for the airport. "We checked the internet constantly all night long and we got up early to make sure things were still on time. We checked various sites to make sure flights weren't delayed," he says.

      With the snow piling up, travellers like Lisa Carmer had the best idea. "We're heading down to the Virgin Islands where they don't have snow," she says.

      In other storm news, the National Weather Service has lifted a winter storm warning in part of eastern New York's Hudson Valley south of Albany.

      The warning was lifted in Dutchess and Ulster counties, but is still in place until 7 p.m. to the north, where bands of snow from a coastal storm still curled over the region.

      The weather service reports that the heaviest accumulation so far is in Dutchess and Columbia counties, where as much as 18 inches fell in some places by Wednesday afternoon.

      A winter weather advisory covered Herkimer County until 7 p.m. Forecasters say another 1 or 2 inches of snow is expected there, with a total of from 5 to 10 inches that wind gusts could blow across roads or into drifts.

      Previous coverage from Wednesday morning:

      If you're flying today, call ahead. That's the best advice as the east coast gets walloped by another winter storm.

      There are already flight delays and cancellations being reported at Hancock Airport. They stem from problems at other northeastern airports with airlines cancelling flights in advance of the storm. It's as good idea to check with your airline before heading to the airport.

      If you are driving, you will faces slow and treacherous driving if you're heading to the Albany, New York City, Connecticut or Massachusetts area.

      Meteorologist Peter Hall says steady light snow continues with increasing afternoon wind. Some enhanced snow showers may mix in. Otherwise, the coastal storm with heavier snow will likely miss our area to the east and southeast. We should still have another 1-3" of snow across central New York with a coating to 1" north. Total accumulations by 5pm Wednesday should roughly be 3-5" or so for much of central New York. Heavier accumulations are expected in eastern and southeastern New York and into New England. Lighter amounts are expected across the North Country.

      Most schools across eastern New York are closed because of a storm that's expected to dump up to 20 inches in some areas.

      The National Weather Service says there's already nearly a foot of snow Wednesday morning in parts of Dutchess County in the mid Hudson Valley, where meteorologist predict 10 to 20 inches by the end of the day.

      School closures are being reported from Utica to New York's eastern border and from the southern Adirondacks south to the lower Hudson Valley.

      State police say jackknifed tractor-trailers briefly closed the westbound lanes of the Thruway near Utica and the highway's northbound lanes south of Albany.

      Forecasters say some areas east of Albany could get up to 16 inches from the storm, with up to a foot expected west and north of the city.

      Meanwhile in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg says crews will work even harder after criticism of how the city handled a storm just after Christmas, when hundreds of streets went unplowed, subway riders were stranded and medical calls unanswered because ambulances were unable to navigate snowy streets.

      By early this morning, 4.5 inches accumulated in Central Park, 3.7 inches at New Jersey's Newark airport, and 5.3 inches in Stamford, Conn.

      Forecasters expected New York City and its suburbs to get an average of about 9 inches and as much as 12 inches in some areas by the afternoon, with reduced visibility and wind gusts up to 35 mph. In New England, the National Weather Service predicted up to a foot across most of Connecticut and the Boston area.

      Bloomberg, who was severely chastised by the public for the city's woeful cleanup efforts following the Dec. 26 blizzard, warned residents Tuesday they likely would wake up to unplowed streets and face a rough morning commute because the latest snowstorm was expected to hit heaviest just before rush hour. "It's going to be a difficult, difficult rush hour," Bloomberg said. "The storm is predicted to be at its heaviest just a few hours before rush hour, and there's no way that our city's plows can get to all 6,000 streets in one or two hours."

      The storm is the third to hit New York in less than three weeks, after the Dec. 26 blizzard dumped 29 inches of snow in parts of the city and last week's threat turned into just a 2-inch dusting. It will be another test for Bloomberg and his commissioners, who have suffered endless criticism for the unplowed streets and uncollected garbage that sullied the city for days after the blizzard. The city stood ready Wednesday with more than 300 salt spreaders, 1,700 plows, and 200 front-end loaders, backhoes and Bobcats.

      Information from the Associated Press was used in this article.