Before noon on Saturday, the nation's airlines had cancelled 8,300 flights across the Northeast.
The Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority announced that it does not plan on closing Reagan National or Dulles airports ahead of Hurricane Irene's approach, but many travelers are stuck on the ground as airlines choose not to fly.
"We are starting to see the airlines cancel more and more flights as we get into the afternoon," Courtney Mickalonis, from the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority. Mickalonis urged travelers to check with their carriers before taking off.
At 1:15 pm., the A.P. reported that all flights out of Maryland had been canceled and the airports were shut down.
All New York City airports stopped receiving incoming flights at noon, sending a ripple across the nation's skyways. Some airlines there have been moving their aircraft out of the path of the approaching storm, which will likely increase delays even after the storm passes.
"This is going to interrupt air travel for at least a day or two," said Mickalonis said.
Extra maintenance staff has been brought in at both airports to make emergency repairs if necessary.
The storm has disrupted other mass transit as well. Amtrak train service between New York and D.C. has been curtailed on Saturday, and all trains have been cancelled for Sunday. Some bus providers operating between Virginia and Boston have also canceled trips.