Mid-Atlantic blizzard causes flight cancelations

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More than 50 flights were canceled Friday evening out of Tampa International Airport due to a blizzard pounding the Mid-Atlantic region.

Heavy snowfall and strong winds led many airlines to take precaution by canceling flights for the weekend. Others chose to wait out the storm, delaying flights until it was safe to fly.

The majority of the flights cancelled at TIA were departing to, or arriving from Washington, DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina.

"We usually get a couple of bad winter snow storms. One year it was so bad if it snowed again, they wouldn't have any place to put the snow," said Shirley Kish, a Long Island resident visiting her children in Tampa for the weekend. Kish was scheduled to fly into Tampa on Saturday, but she chose an earlier flight to avoid getting snowed in.

"I didn't mind being snowbound, but we have tickets to go see the Lion King on Sunday, and I didn't want to miss that," said Kish.

The Mid-Atlantic blizzard could rank near the top 10 worst storms to hit the region, according to the National Weather Service.

Many relatives of travelers spent hours in the airport waiting due to flight delays on Friday.

"My brother is coming down from Rhode Island. He had to stop off in Philly, so it looks like he's delayed a little bit," said Kieth Charpentire. "We're supposed to drive back with a vehicle to New York on Saturday, and I don't think it's going to happen."

Airports across the nation are expecting more cancellations and delays on Saturday as the snow continues to fall overnight. By late Sunday they're hoping to return to full service.

Several hotels around Hillsborough County are offering special rates for stranded travelers.