CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — The incoming winter weather is shaking up many holiday travel plans. Travelers say they are trying to make it out ahead of possible delays and cancellations. Airport officials say they will keep the airport open as long as conditions are safe.

“I didn’t even know there was a big snowstorm coming up, so thankfully I made it in before,” Lucy Handman said after flying from Boston to Buffalo for holiday break from Tufts University.

The weather outside is expected to be frightful this holiday weekend. Forecasts indicate parts of the Mid-West and Great Lakes regions could see a “historic” and “once in a generation” storm. Passengers at the Buffalo Airport say they are traveling early to make it home to Western New York or headed out to their final destination.

“It’s always will she get home and that’s always the issue whether she is going to make it to the holidays,” Germain Harnden said.

The Collins family is on their way to a cruise that departs from Florida. They left days in advance to account for any weather or COVID travel delays.

“I purposefully did our plans according to Buffalo’s weather. We actually don’t leave out until the 23rd but we are flying out today on the 20th just in case buffalo wanted to show out,” Lakishia Collins told News 4.

Just a month ago, Mother Nature dropped multiple feet of snow at the airport. High winds created dangerous flying conditions, forcing the airport to briefly close.

“We could barely see the hand in front of our face and that’s when you say okay let’s pull the trigger and regroup and get the airport back open. We reopened by 9 that morning,” Joe Guarino, airfield superintendent at Buffalo-Niagara International, said.

Guarino says if the conditions are bad enough and flights are grounded, no exceptions will be made, not even for the Buffalo Bills who are scheduled to fly to Chicago to take on the Bears on Christmas Eve. The airport will stay open as long as it can.

“If we have one passenger flying in on a Cessna getting in here, we do the same for an aircraft with 200 people on board. We maintain the airport. If it’s safe to do so we are going to stay open for anybody,” Guarino said. “If the airport is safe, we’re staying open. We’ll do it for everybody. The Bills need to get out of here to go to Chicago, we’re planning on staying open.”

Airport crews will be pre-treating and clearing the runways, taxiways and tarmacs before and during the storm. The big concern is high winds and blowing snow that can make takeoffs and landings very difficult. Guarino says they are constantly monitoring the forecast to keep travelers safe.

Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.