As winter storms, severe cold, and high winds disrupted travel across the United States in the days leading up to the Christmas holiday, airlines were forced to postpone hundreds of flights this week. According to the tracking website FlightAware, airlines cancelled more than 5,000 domestic flights in the United States from Wednesday through Friday.
This time frame encompasses the travel times that airlines anticipated would see the highest volume of customers before Christmas Day. There were more than 16,000 flights in the United States that were delayed. O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport in Chicago, as well as Denver International Airport, were responsible for the majority of the cancelled flights on Thursday.
The likelihood of delays was highest for flights departing from New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Detroit, and Chicago Midway on Friday. Travel could be disrupted anywhere from Seattle to Boston to North Carolina due to the snow, ice, high winds, and low temperatures, according to the warnings issued by airlines.
Chicago and Denver Felt The Most
The effects are being felt most strongly in Chicago and Denver, where, according to statistics provided by FlightAware, approximately one quarter of arrivals and departures, which translates to hundreds of aircraft at each airport, were cancelled on Thursday. According to a warning from the Federal Aviation Administration, snow and ice created delays at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport that averaged 159 minutes, which is almost three hours.
These delays occurred at one point on Thursday. At approximately 5 o’clock in the afternoon local time, the temperature at O’Hare dropped to -13 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit). According to the National Weather Service, snow and freezing fog were seen.
According to reports from CNN, the Federal Aviation Administration has mandated that all leaving planes at Dallas Love, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, and Minneapolis airports must be sprayed with deicing fluid. For this time, a number of airlines have granted weather waivers, which allow passengers to make changes to their travel plans during a limited time window without incurring any fees.
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National Whether Service has Issued the Warning
A powerful arctic cold front will sweep southward across the southern Plains today and then move eastward tonight, bringing with it the potential for hazardous weather conditions across the entire United States. An advisory has been issued by the National Weather Service warning of “a multitude of weather hazards through early this weekend, as heavy snowfall, strong winds, and dangerously cold temperatures span from the northern Great Basin through the Plains, Upper Midwest, Great Lakes, and the northern/central Appalachians.”
These weather conditions are expected to affect a large portion of the United States. The worst of this storm will hit the Midwest and Central Plains, with heavy precipitation and powerful winds that will result in “near-zero visibility and severe blowing and drifting of snow.” Because of this, travelling by land and air in the days leading up to the holiday weekend will be risky and may even be impossible in some cases.
More than 100 Million People Travel During these Days
The American Automobile Association estimated that between December 23 and January 2, more than 112 million people will drive more than 50 miles from their homes. According to AAA, roughly 102 million of them will be driving themselves. In addition to the more than 7 million people who will be travelling by air, many million more will be travelling by rail or via some other means of transportation. Since it started keeping track of these data in 2000, the American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts that the year 2022 will be the third busiest for holiday travel.
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It is very Dangerous
The severe cold, snow, and rain that have been affecting the eastern two-thirds of the country have added substantial problems — and safety hazards — to the busy Christmas travel crunch. At the end of a third epidemic year, large numbers of Americans are travelling for meetings with family or friends. Thursday was a particularly hazardous day to be behind the wheel due to the icy, snow-covered, and otherwise inaccessible conditions that were reported by transportation departments across the country.
Thursday saw the closure of a portion of both State Route 97 and State Route 172 in the middle of Washington state. At approximately noon on Thursday, a chain-reaction accident involving multiple tractor trailers caused the closure of the eastbound lanes of Interstate 44 in Crawford County, Missouri, resulting in lengthy backups. Authorities in eastern Iowa have reported many accidents and vehicles that have become disabled along Interstate 80. They have warned motorists to remain off the highways because “strong gusts are kicking up” and “it’s going to be hard to handle your vehicle on the ice roads.”
What was the Situation Last Year?
The omicron wave of Covid made it impossible for crews to work, which resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of flights between the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022. American Airlines, for its part, has been encouraging crew members to work during busy holidays by providing additional compensation in order to maintain staffing levels.
American Airlines issued a statement in which it claimed, “It’s all hands on deck to guarantee that our customers are cared for during the holiday travel season, including when severe weather occurs.” “Sizing the airline for the resources we have available and operating conditions we confront as well as being able to react fast to get our clients on their way once the weather clears up was critical to our preparations,” said the spokesperson for our company.