Home for Christmas? Travel Still Snarled After Deadly Winter Storm

The storm was "exiting the Northeast" at 4 p.m., but winter weather advisories remained in effect along the Maine coast, according to the National Weather Service.

Bad Timing -- or 'Perfect'?

The timing could not be worse for many, with Christmas only five days away and retailers already struggling. And the weather snarled the travel plans of people flying home for Christmas.

But the timing wasn't bad for everyone.

"Other than spoiling the Christmas shopping, from the emergency manager perspective it was the perfect timing," Peter Judge, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, told the AP. "Even the cleanup today, we're not fighting the people who would be trying to get to work."

Some Twitter users also found the storm to their liking, evidently. A group of them organized a massive snowball fight in downtown Washington Saturday by communicating through the social media site.

Snarled Air Traffic System

The mood was not as light at the East Coast's airports. Airlines scrapped thousands of flights at airports from North Carolina all the way up through Boston, causing a ripple effect of delays across the country.

Click here or scroll down for a list of cancellations reported by major carriers.

Inconvenienced travelers included the National Football League's Chicago Bears, whose initial flight to Baltimore to play the Ravens today was canceled. The Bears managed to fly to Baltimore Saturday night, ABC News Baltimore affiliate WMAR reported, though the start of the game was delayed from 1 to 4:15 p.m.

In Philadelphia today, officials also delayed the start of the San Francisco 49ers-Philadelphia Eagles game a few hours to help get the field cleaned off and allow more time for people to get to the site.

Sleeping at the Airport

It was a long night for workaday airport travelers, too. Passengers who had nowhere else to go camped out at several airports, hoping for a flight out today.

They included Liam Cummings, stuck at Washington's Reagan National Airport since Friday evening.

"This is where I slept last night, and this is where I plan on sleeping tonight," he said as he lay on a floor.

Saturday night, D.C.'s airport authority gave out 200 blankets at National Airport and 600 at region's other large airport, Dulles, where officials managed to open one runway at 6 a.m. and started receiving arriving flights.

Tara Hamilton, a spokeswoman for the region's Metropolitan Airport Authority, said reopening National was particularly difficult.

"We had more snow than we've ever had a Reagan National," Hamilton said. "What that meant was we couldn't simply push the snow away or groom it. We actually had to haul it away. ... I think we were doing the best we could do. We've never had a situation like this."

Things were particularly bad this morning at National's American Airlines ticket counters, with waits of more than four hours. Other airlines apparently canceled most of their morning flights and told passengers not to come to the airport.

Baltimore-Washington International Airport was able to keep one runway open Saturday. Although the airport was open, officials said Sunday flights would continue to be impacted by the storm, with travelers advised to check with their carrier before making their way to any of the airports.

Airport Delays Go On

About 1,200 flights were canceled Saturday and Sunday at the New York region's three major airports, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey said.

Page
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...