NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A rare white Christmas in parts of the South was complicating life for some travelers as airlines canceled hundreds of flights, while snow was predicted for the nation’s Capital and travel authorities warned of potentially dangerous roads.

The National Weather Service said the storm could bring 6 to 10 inches of snow to the Washington region, beginning today. The Weather Service was also forecasting possible snow today for the New York and Boston areas, with overnight temperatures in the 20s and wind gusts up to 30 mph. A blizzard watch which starts tonight was issued for parts of Maine on Saturday.

In Nashville, some travelers who expected a smooth trip on Christmas got a rude surprise.

“We were hoping this was going to be a good day to travel,” said Heather Bansmer, 36, of Bellingham, Wash.

She and her husband, Shawn Breeding, 40, had planned to return home on separate flights after a visit to Breeding’s family in Bowling Green, Ky. However, Breeding’s flight through Atlanta got canceled.

Now the couple planned to spend much of Christmas Day in separate airports.

“A white Christmas is not so welcome,” Breeding said, as the couple stood in the lobby of the Nashville airport with their luggage in a cart.

Brian Korty at the Weather Service in Camp Springs, Md., said travelers in the northern Mid-Atlantic region and New England may want to rethink Sunday travel plans.

“They may see nearly impossible conditions to travel in,” he said.

The snowstorm blanketed sections of the Midwest and hampered motorists there on Christmas Eve, before dipping south late Friday. Winter weather advisories were in effect Saturday from western Tennessee to the Carolinas and from West Virginia to Alabama.