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JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE...
By Joe Brancatelli
So February's been a blast, eh?

After a brutal January and an awful first week of this month, we got lulled into thinking the worst had past. After all, a day or two without snow, ice or other crazy weather and we got carried away.

But winter just won't die and here's how we've been covering what's been covering the ground and the runways. As always, read backward since the newest material is at the top.

10pm ET 2/21/11, MONDAY
WHAT'S A FEW THOUSAND MORE CANCELLATIONS?

We're getting so inured to winter that a few thousand cancellations here and there hardly matter. But today's storm caused approximately a thousand cancellations in the Midwest (about 500 at Chicago's O'Hare Airport and 250 each at Minneapolis/St. Paul and Detroit/Metro) and another 250 or so at New York/LaGuardia and Newark. On Sunday, the storm caused around 700 cancellations at MSP and about 300 each in Detroit and at O'Hare.

9:30am ET 2/20/11, SUNDAY
SO MUCH FOR WINTER QUIETUDE

You thought a week of quietude meant winter was done. Shows you the high price of overconfidence.

A nasty snowstorm is threatening to dump as much as a foot of snow on the Upper Midwest today and tomorrow morning. In Minneapolis/St. Paul, a big Delta hub, the storm has already lead to around 500 cancellations, about half of today's schedule. There are less severe cancellations at Detroit/Metro, another Delta hub, and Milwaukee, a hub for Frontier Airlines. This one does not seem to threaten Chicago and the O'Hare and Midway hubs, however. (As usual, these numbers come from the fine folks at FlightStats.com.)

Airlines with a substantial presence in the Upper Midwest have already issued travel reaccommodation plans to allow you to change your flights today and tomorrow.

The weather wonks are also worried about the I-90 Corridor in the Upper Midwest. There's a chance of heavy snowfalls, drifting and road closures.

But, wait, there's more, as they say on TV…

Monday, President's Day, is likely to be nasty in the Northeast with a so-called "wintry mix" of snow, sleet, rain and ice. No airline has issued a travel advisory yet, but it's likely to be messy in the East.

In other words, heads up. If you're on the road today and tomorrow, make sure to double-check your flights before heading to the airport and be flexible. Me, I'm going to order some tomato seedlings to prove I have confidence this winter will, eventually, end.

4pm ET 2/9/11, WEDNESDAY
WINTER WEATHER GOES SOUTH. AGAIN.

Guess what? The lousy weather is back and hammering flights at important Southern hubs today and snarling interstate traffic. And it threatens to be just as bad tomorrow.

The big loser today? Folks trying to travel into and out of Dallas/Fort Worth, where about 500 of today's 1,800 scheduled takeoffs and landings have been scrubbed. At Houston/Intercontinental, about 170 of the 1,300 scheduled flights are gone. The Memphis hub has dropped about 160 of its 900 planned flights.

And with record-breaking (again!) snows in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee today, the roads are in bad shape. Woe to you if your plans include parts of I-30, I-40 and I-55.

Tomorrow, the weather may be worse in Atlanta, although Memphis may be in bad shape, too. If your travel includes flights there, you may have a very difficult morning.

Plan accordingly and remember: In a victory of hope over experience, spring training starts next week. And, as far as I know, the snowball is still an illegal pitch.

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ABOUT JOE BRANCATELLI Joe Brancatelli is a publication consultant, which means that he helps media companies start, fix and reposition newspapers, magazines and Web sites. He's also the former executive editor of Frequent Flyer and has been a consultant to or columnist for more business-travel and leisure-travel publishing operations than he can remember. He started his career as a business journalist and created JoeSentMe in the dark days after 9/11 while he was stranded in a hotel room in San Francisco. He lives on the Hudson River in the tourist town of Cold Spring.

THE FINE PRINT All of the opinions and material in this column are the sole property and responsibility of Joe Brancatelli. This material may not be reproduced in any form without his express written permission.

This column is Copyright © 2011 by Joe Brancatelli. JoeSentMe.com is Copyright © 2011 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.