Powerful Storms Bring ‘Dangerous to Impossible’ Travel Conditions and Thousands of Flight Delays

By Kurt Stolz on 28 February 2023
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An American Airlines plane being deiced at JFK

Powerful storms took aim at the West Coast and the Northeast of the United States, bringing heavy snowfall, strong winds, flight delays and cancellations, power outages, and dangerous road conditions to the regions.

Some 50 million people in the Northeast are under winter weather alerts as of 10 a.m. Tuesday as a storm that had brought damaging winds, hail, and tornadoes to the central section of the country moved into the region.  Meanwhile, in Southern California, residents of some mountain communities were left stranded when heavy snow caused roads to became too dangerous to drive on.

The National Weather service short-range forecast for much of the country emphasized “heavy snow” repeatedly. “Heavy snow to impact parts of the Northeast today…  Heavy snow and strong winds will create extremely dangerous travel conditions across the Sierra Nevada… Swath of moderate to locally heavy snow possible across the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest through Wednesday morning,” the NWS said in a statement.  In addition, the agency predicted “[I]ncreasing severe weather and Excessive rainfall concerns for parts of the Lower/Middle Mississippi Valley and Tennessee Valley through midweek.”

Airports in the Northeast topped the worldwide flight delays and cancellations list maintained by FlightAware, a service that tracks such information. As of 10:30 a.m., there were 1,156 flight delays within, into, and out of the United States and 483 additional flights had been cancelled.

On Monday, there were 5,780 flight delays within, into, and out of the United States along with an additional 609 flight cancellations.  The figures for Sunday were 6,283 and 286, respectively.

Eighty-seven flights, or 14% of the total, at New York’s LaGuardia airport had already been cancelled as of 10:15 a.m. local time, while an additional 23, or 3%, were delayed, while at Boston Logan International Airport, 52 flights, or 9%, have been cancelled and 31 flights, or 5%, were delayed.  The picture was similar at John F. Kennedy International Airport, also in New York, where 38 flights, or 5%, have already been cancelled and an additional 54, or 8%, were delayed.

Road conditions are making driving hazardous in the affected regions and slick and icy streets and highways are causing numerous accidents.

Snow and wind in the Sierra Nevada are creating blizzard conditions, making travel “very dangerous to impossible,” the NWS warned.

“If you plan to travel by road at elevations above 1,000’ (305 m) through West Coast states, be prepared for rapidly changing conditions and have winter driving supplies,” the agency cautioned.

Just under 250,000 homes and businesses were without power as of 10 a.m. EST, the majority located in Michigan and California, according to PowerOutage.us, a service that tracks such information.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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