A strong winter storm threatened to disrupt thousands of flights and bring misery to air travelers for the sixth time in as many weeks.Already, flight-tracking website FlightAware.com says it has tallied more than 3,000 cancellations as a result of the storm. The company says there have 1,949 flights proactively canceled for Tuesday and that another 1,191 have been grounded for Wednesday. Already, most major U.S. carriers had announced flexible rebooking policies as the developing storm was forecast to move out of the Southwest and bring a combination of heavy snow, ice and thunderstorms to an area that could encompass as many as 30 states over the next 48 hours.
The storm threatened to bring wintry weather to airports in New Mexico and west Texas today, with the most intense conditions forecast to hit the Midwest on Tuesday.Hazardous conditions also were forecast Tuesday for a number of other major airports. Among those that could see significant disruptions: Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Des Moines and the Quad-Cities airport near Moline, Ill. A mix of snow, ice and rain was forecast on Tuesday for Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Pittsburgh, possibly leading to disruptions at those airports, as well.
The forecast was not quite as to the East, but a mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain were in the forecast Tuesday for New York and Philadelphia. Those cities are home to four of the nation’s busiest — and most-delay prone — airports: New York JFK, New York LaGuardia, Newark Liberty and Philadelphia. Buffalo was forecast to get 10-14 inches of snow, though that airport is accustomed to handling big snow events.
In New England, winter weather was expected to begin in the area by early Tuesday morning and persist through Wednesday, threatening to disrupt operations at airports such as Boston, Hartford and Providence. Even to the South, thunderstorms could bring spotty delays to Houston Bush Intercontinental, a major hub for United/Continental.Light snow, freezing rain and ice were in the forecast for Dallas/Fort Worth, adding that airport to the list of those at risk of weather-related delays.As usual, airlines advised passengers with plans to fly to, from or through the affected areas to check on the status of their flights before heading to the airport. This week’s storm follows at least five other major storms during the past five weeks. Collectively, those storms resulted in tens of thousands of flight cancellations.