At Logan International Airport today, a London-bound high school band from Maine was trying to figure out how the show could go on.
Their invitation to play in the London New Year's Day parade and a concert had thrilled the popular band from Mount Desert Island High School in Bar Harbor. For two years, students sold citrus fruit and collected bottles and cans to raise $2,800 apiece for their tickets to England.
But today, 50 band members and 20 chaperones sat anxiously at the airport, unsure if they would arrive in time to play in a concert Thursday. They were among thousands of anxious travelers left stranded as the first blizzard of the season blitzed Massachusetts. The fast-moving storm cancelled hundreds of flights, halted Amtrak service from Maine to New York, and suspended ferry service between the mainland and Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
"It's looking very grim," said Daniel Granholm, the school's music director, shaking his head, as band members strummed a ukelele and played cards. "It's going to be difficult."
Holiday travelers should expect significant delays Monday as a result of the storm that unleashed heavy, wet snow on the region Sunday and that was expected to continue into Monday. Officials urged air travelers to contact their airlines directly to rebook flights, and cautioned that flights may not be available right away.
"I don't think you're going to see any early morning flights. They may pick up again after 12, or if it clears up much quicker," said Phil Orlandella, spokesman at Logan airport. "There's going to be two days of people trying to rebook. Get on the phone fast."
Drivers should also expect a messy morning commute -- and should leave early for their destinations. Hundreds of highway workers salted roadways and cleared snow off them all night, but authorities said it still could take a day to remove the snow if it falls as much as 2 to 4 inches an hour.
"It is a blizzard, and it is certainly going to impede travel,"said Luisa Paiewonsky, the state highway administrator. "It’s always a goal to get the roads cleared and ready for commuting travel, but it’s not a certainty at this point."
Today, state officials said most drivers appeared to heed the blinking warning signs urging them to avoid highway travel. It also helped that the storm fell on a Sunday, when schools and offices are closed, and the day after Christmas, so streets were not clogged with frantic holiday shoppers.
Still, highways across the state were jammed with anxious drivers attempting to beat the storm as it bore down on the region this afternoon.
On Route 3 southbound near Hingham, near whiteout conditions brought traffic to a perilous crawl as people struggled to make it home. Small flotillas of salt trucks plugged along, further blocking traffic but clearing the roads to allow some traction. When the trucks left the highway, however, all that was left for the drivers was a slippery white path with drivers to negotiate on their own.
Traffic was clogged on the Massachusetts Turnpike and along stretches of I-95, between the Massachusetts Turnpike and I-93/I-95 split. On the highway south of Norwell, visibility occasionally fell to less than 100 feet and some cars pulled off the road.
As of 6 p.m., State Police reported numerous minor crashes, with minor injuries, caused largely by skidding and spinouts in the eastern portion of the state. On Route 9 east in Newton, a pickup truck lost control and struck and toppled two utility poles around 3:45 p.m.
Determined travelers turned to the train as an alternate route. But that, too, proved challenging. Amtrak cancelled all trains between Boston and New York starting just after 5 p.m., as well as service between Boston and Portland, Maine, said Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole. He said it was unclear when service would resume.
South Station filled with dejected travelers such as 35-year-old business owner John Lanzerotta, who said he turned to the train after his original flight and a string of rebooked flights were canceled at Logan. He said the earliest that airline officials could reschedule him was Wednesday, but he had to get back to work.
He said he planned to sleep in the station to try to ride standby.
“My plane ticket is toast,” Lanzerotta said. “I can never recall being in a situation where an airline tried to force me to travel three days after the fact.”
Not all passengers were upset by the weather delays.
“It’s not that bad if I don’t get to go home,” said Catherine Flaherty, 23, who was trying to return to New York City for work after staying with family in the Boston area. “Then I can just stay here longer.”
But on a late-afternoon Acela train from New York into Boston, nerves were fraying as sheets of snow cascaded gloriously on the fast-darkening landscape whizzing by the windows.
One train conductor, her face hardened into a scowl, took to the PA and angrily scolded the passengers to stop asking when the train was would arrive in Boston.
"I can't predict," she said. "We have a major blizzard. So please don't ask."
But many travelers on the train were just glad to enjoy the ride.
Christine Scott, a 43-year-old office manager from Quincy who had gone to Waretown, N.J., to visit her parents for Christmas, was planning on flying home early yesterday on a Spirit airlines flight. But when she and her parents arrived at Atlantic City International Airport, they learned her flight had been canceled.
They drove about 100 miles in the snow to get to Metropark station, where Scott managed to get on the train at just after 3 p.m.
"I figured if I didn't get out today I wasn't getting out," she said, sitting in the crowded Acela, flipping through issues of Vogue and People magazines. "I just wanted to get home."
Michael Levenson, Maria Cramer, David Filipov, and Noah Bierman of the Globe Staff and Globe Correspondents Stewart Bishop and L. Finch contributed to this report.
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