BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Massachusetts transportation officials are warning of hazardous travel conditions because of an impending winter storm.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is advising the public that by midday Sunday there will be a mix of heavy snow, freezing rain and strong wind gusts in Western Massachusetts which will arrive in the greater Boston area by 5 p.m.
During the storm, snow fall rates will be 1-2 inches per hour in many areas.
MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver is advising anyone who has to travel, to leave as early as possible Sunday morning.
To avoid the storm, motorists traveling on roads north and west of Interstate 495 should be off the roads by 3 p.m. and motorists traveling east and south of Interstate 495 should be off the roads by 5 p.m.
Eastbound traffic was thick along the Massachusetts Turnpike in Natick on Saturday with travelers heading home from Thanksgiving. Yvonne Howard and her family were heading back to Weymouth from Syracuse, N.Y.
“We know there’s a storm coming tomorrow, so we wanted to get ahead of that and also get home and get comfortable, so that’s our goal,” Howard said.
Another traveler heading from Connecticut to Boston said they cancelled their plans.
“Tomorrow is supposed to snow,” said Rita Kingsbury. “We had the intention to go to New York but ended up changing our minds because of that. ”
Plows are already lined up an ready with a huge pile of salt at the Boston Public Works yard.
Travel experts say that even if Sunday has good weather, a trip home could be challenging.
“If everyone decides to return on Sunday it could be a very very busy Sunday on the roadways,” said Mary Maguire of AAA. “It’s also going to be an incredibly busy Sunday in the air. It’s actually being projected by analysts that Sunday could be the busiest air travel day ever in U.S. History.”
Some airlines have already issued travel waivers, allowing travelers to change or cancel flights without fees or fare differences for flights in or out of certain cities on Sunday and Monday.
Below is a list of airlines and the New England cities they have issued a travel waivers for:
JetBlue: Boston, Mass., Worcester, Mass., Providence, R.I., Hartford, Conn.
American Airlines: Bangor, Maine, Boston, Mass., Burlington, V.T., Hartford, Conn., Manchester, N.H., New Haven, Conn., Portland, Maine, Providence, R.I.
United Airlines: Bangor, Maine; Boston, Mass., Hartford, Conn., Manchester, N.H., Portland, Maine, Presque Isle, Maine, Providence, R.I.
Delta Air Lines: Bangor, Maine, Boston, Mass., Burlington, V.T., Hartford, Conn., Manchester, N.H., Portland, Maine, Providence, R.I.
Southwest Airlines: Boston, Mass., Hartford, Conn., Manchester, N.H., Portland, Maine, Providence, R.I.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)