Photo Courtesy of Reuters
The northeastern US is preparing for a major winter storm that is expected to drop up to 3 feet of snow and bring near-hurricane-force winds. According to the National Weather Service, blizzard conditions are expected to affect more than 40 million people, including those in big cities such as NYC and Boston, where all forms of travel have been banned.
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.
On January 26 we posted a story about the traveling saga of Mate Tokic. Mate spent an unplanned week in London in mid-December during the great snowstorm of 2010 after his flight was canceled at Heathrow Airport. It appears Mate’s travel misfortunes continue. His flight from Dulles Airport near Washington, DC to Cairo via Heathtrow was canceled Wednesday due to a winter storm that dumped about a foot of snow in the DC area. Mate was scheduled to leave Dulles at 10 p.m.
At the peak of the snowstorm, Mate, a history professor at the American University of Cairo, decided to risk a trip to the airport from his parents house in Takoma Park, MD, located about 50 miles from Dulles, via the DC subway system. He made it to its furthest west point at the West Falls Church station and had planned to take a bus the remaining 20 miles or so to the airport.
Mate waited 2 hours for a bus that never arrived, then went back to his parents home after he saw a group of people who had walked about a mile back to the station. The were left stranded for three hours after the bus they were riding and which was heading to the airport got stuck in the snow. His said his flight was officially canceled at 1:30 a.m. READ MORE
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
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.