Blizzard causes Atlanta air travelers to scramble - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Northeast blizzard causes Atlanta air travelers to scramble

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

With a potentially historic blizzard expected to slam the northeast this weekend, some passengers at Atlanta's airport scrambled Friday to get ahead of the storm by catching earlier flights.

Lionel Ruggeri of Princeton, NJ, was in Atlanta on business all week. He came to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport before 4 a.m.

"I know I'm not going to make it for the afternoon, so the only choice was like 5 in the morning, so I'm just jumping," said Ruggeri. "And I think it's already full, this plane, so that's pretty unusual for 5 in the morning."

Airlines have canceled thousands of flights this weekend to cities in the northeast because of the forecast.

Derek Mitchell of Montgomery, AL, spent Thursday night in his car at the Atlanta airport so that he could hop on an early morning flight to Boston. He's an electrical contractor for Walmart who uses huge generators to restore electricity to stores in storm-ravaged areas.

"I'll start in Boston, but remember, Walmarts are out in subdivisions, so I'll wind up - who knows," Mitchell said.

He's not sure how long he'll be gone.

"We'll sleep in the store on the racks," Mitchell said. "You wouldn't think that (having electricity at a Walmart) was a thing that family would care about. But they care about it because Walmart is everything, whether it be a prescription or getting something to eat."

Mary Williams arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson at 7 a.m. to try to make it home to Philadelphia, but she wasn't having much luck.

"I got the early flight on purpose," Williams said. "I got over here, got checked in, had to walk down to get my bags registered, and in that five minute span they cancelled the flight."

Because of the ripple effect that cancellations are expected to cause, air travelers are urged to check with their airlines, no matter their destination.

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