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Weather causes holiday travel delays throughout East Coast

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ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) - The holiday travel season is back in full force, with millions of travelers across the country trying to get from point A to point B before Santa Claus does.

Holiday travel delays

The weather is not making it very easy in some parts of America.

Hundreds of flights were either canceled or delayed across the country Monday, sending travelers scrambling to avoid spending the holidays in a hotel - or worse, in an airport terminal.

Locally, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport was one of the hardest hit by the travel snags. According to FlightAware, 43 flights into and out of the airport had been canceled by 5 p.m.

Other airports hit hard by delays included Chicago's O'Hare International, Philadelphia and New York LaGuardia.

At Reagan, though, one couple is getting rather familiar with the friendly confines of Arlington. The Cedar family of Albany is trying to get to Indianapolis, and for the second straight year, their progress has hit a wall.

"This morning we got to Harrisburg, but we had to refuel because they couldn't land in D.C.," Leslie Cedar said. "We missed the flights and now we have seven hours to wait."

They weren't alone - the boards at Reagan were littered with lots of adjusted takeoff times; dozens of them impacted by a long line of rain storms that's blanketing the East Coast and has already left a coating of ice on places the storm has already visited.

Ice brought down trees and knocked out power to many across the country. In Detroit, a Delta Air Lines 737 slid off a slick runway because of the conditions; luckily, no one was injured.

While snow and ice totals piled up elsewhere in the Washington area, continued mild temperatures meant the only precipitation was rain.

Unfortunately, that was still enough to slow holiday travelers hitting the road well into the evening.

On Monday night, I-95 in Howard County was bumper-to-bumper in both directions. One family in particular was trying to get home to New Jersey after a trip down south.

"Going down wasn't so bad, but coming back was brutal," said holiday traveler Chris Doyle.

Florida resident Eddie Prinz was still wearing his shorts, and said he didn’t hit any traffic his entire trip – that is, until the D.C. area:

"Just stop-and-go the whole way -- that's all we've run into -- stop and go, stop and go," he explained.

And it wasn't just 95 -- 495, 295, and many other interstates had traffic issues on Monday night. From accidents to drivers getting pulled over, the traffic slowed down significantly.

"Most times we fly, but this time we decided to drive, and I don't think we'll do it again," added Doyle.

But the airports are still having problems of their own. Maryland resident Molly Cason was at BWI among the crowds, trying to make it to her parents' in Kansas City for her baby daughter Layla's first Christmas.

Many of the delays at BWI appeared to be an hour or less, but at Reagan National, the delays were worse -- some even longer than three hours.

A big ice storm that has hit Michigan, upstate New York, and New England is complicating things, and it didn't help travelers to Detroit earlier today when one plane slid off the taxiway. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

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