About 100 flights into and out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport were cancelled Monday as Hurricane Sandy approached the East coast.

Thousands of flights were cancelled at airports around the globe, while major U.S. carriers cancelled all their flights at New York City's three major airports.

United Airlines sent three of its planes to MSP from airports to the east and parked them Sunday night "just to get them out of harm's way," said Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman Patrick Hogan.

Hogan said it will be difficult for travelers to fly east for much of the week. The 100 flights cancelled Monday might likely be cancelled again Tuesday and even Wednesday, causing a backlog of travelers and a scramble for alternative flights.

Hogan also noted that the terminals at MSP were unusually quiet for a Monday.

"The airlines have done a good job in terms of getting the word out early," Hogan said, although he added that travelers -- even those not flying to the East coast -- should check with the airlines for information on flights for which they have tickets.

"It's going to take a long time for people to find their way home," he said.

No one was stranded at MSP overnight Sunday into Monday, Hogan added.

Minnesota is actually benefitting from Sandy. The enormous low pressure system is preventing other weather systems from moving across the continent, locking high pressure into place over the Upper Midwest for the rest of the week. The Twin Cities forecast calls for mostly sunny and dry weather into the weekend, with highs around 50 and lows around 30.

While parts of the east could see up to a foot of precipitation from Sandy, with parts of West Virginia getting several feet of snow, Minnesota's drought will continue, said Shawn DeVinny, forecaster at the Twin Cities National Weather Service office. "Our overall pattern can't change much," he said.

To see updated flight information visit www.mspairport.com/flight-Information/all-flights.aspx .

Bill McAuliffe • 612-673-7646