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Rain, snow and gusty winds to hit Midwest, Northeast during weekend travel rush; airlines cancel flights

Millions of holiday travelers will be met with rain, snow or a messy mix of both this weekend as a winter storm moves through the Midwest and into the Northeast.

More than 40 million people from California to Maine were under winter weather alerts Saturday morning, said CNN meteorologist Haley Brink.

The winter storm, located over the central US at that time, brought with it heavy snow to the northern Plains and Midwest, Brink said.

Motorists navigate an ice and snow-covered road on November 27, 2019 in Mason City, Iowa.

She added, high wind warnings and wind advisories cover 20 million people from New Mexico to Nebraska where winds could gust up to 85 mph.

The storm is expected to shift to the Northeast on Sunday, Brink said, bringing heavy snow to the interior of New England and a wintry mix and rain to coastal cities.

CLICK HERE for latest on the first storm of the season from FOX61 News weather team 

New York City is forecast to receive up to 4 inches of snow mixed with rain into Monday, Brink said. Boston could see 6 to 8 inches of snow through Tuesday morning.

That eastward movement means snow, ice and powerful winds will impact post-Thanksgiving travel on Sunday and Monday, the National Weather Service warned. By Saturday morning, there were already more than 400 flight cancellations and 6,000 flight delays in the US, according to FlightAware.

Ahead of the anticipated winter weather, airlines like American and Delta have started issuing waivers for eligible travelers if they need to change or cancel their travel plans.

American Airlines issued waivers for passengers traveling Sunday and Monday on flights to and from New York's John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports as well as Newark and the airline's hub in Philadelphia. Hartford (BDL) is included in that list; other cities in the American Airlines announcement include Boston, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Toronto, Canada.

Delta Airlines announced weather waivers for 16 cities in the Upper Midwest on Saturday, and 22 cities in the Northeast for Sunday and Monday, including Bradley Airport and airports in Boston and the New York area.

BLOOMINGTON, MN - NOVEMBER 27: Lee Bjurquist checks the status of flights at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport after a blizzard struck overnight on November 27, 2019 in Bloomington, Minnesota. Snowfalls neared 12 inches in parts of the state on one of the busiest travel days of the year. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Travel impacts are likely Sunday afternoon and Monday, the National Weather Service tweeted.

Of special concern is Sunday, which is expected to be the busiest travel day ever for the US airline industry, with an anticipated 3.1 million passengers, according to Airlines for America, an airline trade organization. A record 31.6 million passengers were forecast to travel on US airlines during the Thanksgiving holiday period, up 3.7% from last year.

Another storm that affected the Northeast this week has now pushed into the Atlantic Ocean, Brink said.

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