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Storm strands holiday travelers in Florida

A cross-country blizzard canceled dozens of flights and delayed several others, leaving hundreds of holiday travelers stranded at Florida airports.

Saturday's snowstorm canceled flights from Orlando to Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Omaha, Neb., Rochester, N.Y., and Columbus, Ohio.

Orlando International Airport reported delays of one to three hours on flights to Albany, N.Y., Birmingham, Ala., Dallas, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia.

Trans World Airlines told its passengers all flights to the Midwest were canceled.

"Jan. 2 is one of the busiest travel days of the year," airport spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell said. "All people can do is be patient. Weather is something we can't control."

Similar delays and cancellations greeted customers who planned to fly out of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach.

The storm was described by weather experts as one of the worst in two decades. It moved through the Midwest on Saturday with more than a foot of snow being blown by 60 mph winds.

Airport officials said many cruise ships would be dropping off thousands of vacationers, causing even more air travel delays.

About 300 members of the University of Michigan's "Amazing Blue" marching band were stranded at a hotel after the Wolverines won the Florida Citrus Bowl.

Many Florida hotels were already booked because this is the high season for travel to Florida. The delayed flights caused a deluge of requests for rooms.

"If someone checks out of their room, they should be aware that the hotel will probably have it cleaned and ready for the next guests in less than an hour. It may be a good idea to hold on to that room," said Jim Reynolds, spokesman for Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.