A major storm of ice, snow and freezing rain has forced airlines to cancel more than 4,500 flights. The 2,100-mile stretch of wintery weather – from Texas to Maine – has halted airport traffic and closed airports, including Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport and Tulsa International Airport.
Airports in Newark, NJ, and Chicago are the hardest hit with more than 600 flight cancellations each, according to Flightware.com. Chicago is expected to get 2 feet of snow, breaking its snowfall record set in 1967. The Windy City is a hub for several major airlines, including United and American.
Windy weather with zero visibility had sparked Delta Airlines to cancel 625 flights today. JetBlue is canceling flights in and out of New York’s JFK airport for the rest of today with some flights expected to resume Wednesday afternoon. The airline plans to shut down its flights servicing Boston starting tonight. Officials at JetBlue say service may not may not be up and running until Thursday morning.
More than a month ago, Mate Tokic spent an unplanned week in London when a winter storm crippled Heathrow Airport and curtailed his plans to be with family in the Washington, DC area a full week before Christmas.
Tokic was able to avoid overnight stays at the airport with the help of social media. He used Skype and Facebook to solicit the kindness of strangers who provided comfortable, if unfamiliar, dwellings throughout London. His travel saga is documented in a story we posted today.
At about 10 p.m. on Wednesday Tokic is scheduled to depart on a flight from Dulles Airport some 25 miles west of Washington. His ultimate destination is Egypt, where he works as a European history professor at the American University in Cairo, and he’s got a scheduled layover in London. READ MORE
The official death toll from Brazil’s mudslide disaster has risen to 803. Nova Friburgo, near Rio de Janeiro, is the hardest-hit town, where 389 deaths were recorded. A total of 400 lives were lost in other towns, including Teresopolis, Peropolis and Sumidouro.
According to the LA Times, more than 14,000 people are homeless in one of the worst natural disasters in the country’s history. People were forced to abandon their homes in southeast Brazil, either because the houses were destroyed or deemed unsafe.
The World Bank donated $485 million to rebuild and provide prevention plans. The Brazilian government also plans to revamp its national alert system to warn of future flooding disasters.
More bad weather may be in Brazil’s future. Mudslides are probable as summer rainfall continues.
Before you head to the airport today and tomorrow, do yourself a favor and check with your airline carrier to see if your flight has been delayed or canceled. The US is getting its second snow punch of 2011, and the governors of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Tennessee have already declared states of emergency.
An estimated 1900 flights were cancelled in/out of Atlanta today, and more cancellations are expected in DC and New York as the snowstorm continues its path north along the Atlantic coast. By Wednesday, snow fall totals could reach as much as 9 inches in New York and a foot in New England.