DC area airports brace for winter storm expected to impact holiday travel

D.C. area airports are bracing for a chaotic winter storm that could impact holiday travel plans across the region -- just before Christmas.

Forecasters are tracking a dangerous winter 'bomb cyclone' that's expected to bring freezing temperatures and snow to a large swath of the Midwest and Great Lakes region this week.

The storm's cold temperatures and damaging winds are expected to spread toward the D.C. area that could result in a travel nightmare for millions ahead of the Christmas holiday weekend.

Holiday travelers at Reagan National Airport

FOX 5's Melanie Alnwick reports that the concern isn't so much on the flights in and out of the D.C. region – but rather where those flights originate and if the Midwest hubs can handle the storm.

AAA says while the majority of the 113 million people who will travel for the holidays will drive, at least seven million will fly.

Alnwick says the travel app 'Hopper' reports approximately three million people will be departing daily on Thursday and Friday alone - right when the blizzard conditions are due to hit.

Areas in the south could see heavy rain, flash freezing and tornadoes. Major airlines are already offering waivers for passengers to change their flights.

Air travelers could encounter some longer security lines as early as Wednesday as people move up their travel plans.