‘Travel Nightmare’ Cancels Holiday Travel for Thousands

By Paul Riegler on 25 December 2020
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What healthcare officials could not accomplish amidst the coronavirus pandemic was taken care of in part by Mother Nature, who unleashed a storm that made Christmas travel near impossible for hundreds of thousands of people.

One forecaster with the National Weather Service predicted a “travel nightmare.”

Heavy rains and blizzard-like conditions delayed hundreds of flights and made driving extremely hazardous.  The storm closed multiple major highways as they become impassable.

On Friday, over 2,300 flights were delayed and 531 cancelled as of 11:50 a.m. EST, according to FlightAware, a service that tracks such information.  Thursday saw 4,731 delays and 1,979 cancellations.

Hundreds of flights departing Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport were cancelled Wednesday and Thursday and dozens more were delayed, the airport said.

Earlier in the week, the storm blanketed the Midwest in white stuff, with over 8” (20 cm) of snow in Minneapolis. The storm brought blizzard-like conditions to the Twin Cities as well as to the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa, and the rest of Minnesota.

In Nebraska, the State Police said that they had responded to over 250 crashes or emergency calls, largely in the eastern part of the state. In one, a couple and a 4-year-old child were killed when the family’s GMC Yukon flew over a median on Interstate 80 into the path of an oncoming semi-tractor-trailer truck.  An additional two children were injured but survived.

In South Dakota, a 20-car pileup closed a stretch of Interstate 29 west of Dell Rapids.  “Zero visibility [is] in the area,” the South Dakota Department of Public Safety said in a tweet.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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