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Worst. February. Ever.
The numbers say this winter isn't a patch on the kind of awful season we had last year. And it's hard to argue with the numbers or forget the fall and winter from hell that was late 2013 and early 2014. But, man, this February has been brutal. New England is buried in record snowfalls and New York, the MidAtlantic and the Mid South have been whacked, too. Here's how we covered it. As always, like a blog, the latest item is on top, so read up from the bottom for the complete context.
3/1/15, 6:45PM ET, SUNDAY
IT WAS THE WORST OF FLIGHTS--AND THE WORST OF FLIGHTS
It was not the best of times. It was the worst of times. Or, without cribbing from and mangling Dickens, it's just been, er, plane awful out there in February.
Last weekend we had the tale of the Air France Airbus A380 that was due to travel from New York/Kennedy to Paris/CDG, but diverted to Manchester, England. And that was after a six-hour departure delay. The flight of the damn only got worse from there, as you can read thanks to reporting from Bloomberg News and The Telegraph newspaper.
Then there's Friday's American Airlines Flight 382, normally a 50-or-so-minute flight between Dallas/Fort Worth and Oklahoma City. According to an account in the Daily Mail, many passengers spent nine hours on the plane waiting for takeoff no thanks to mechanical issues, crew time-outs and deicing at DFW. It doesn't appear that the flight ran afoul of the tarmac-hold rules, however, since passengers were given several opportunities to disembark. Still, not a pleasant experience, as ABC News reported.
3/1/15, 5:45PM ET, SUNDAY
NO SUNSHINE, NO LOLLIPOPS, NO RAINBOWS
Thought the bad weather was going to end with Worst. February. Ever.? Guess again. Today is shaping up as one of the worst days of winter to fly.
Dallas/Fort Worth continues to be a mess: about 475 takeoffs and landings dumped and more than 400 delays so far. Yesterday was another truly miserable day there, with more than 1,110 cancellations and another night of folks camped out at the airport. The flights that did operate were often subject to long tarmac holds and long delays for deicing.
Now the East is getting whacked by a wintry mix, too.
Nearly 300 flights have been cancelled so far at New York/LaGuardia, about 200 are gone at Newark and almost 130 are scrubbed at New York/Kennedy. There are about 250 takeoff and landings "annulled" at Philadelphia and hundreds scrubbed at the three Washington-area airports. O'Hare in Chicago is no bargain, either, with hundreds of delays and more than 100 cancellations. Charlotte, Raleigh/Durham and (to a lesser extent) Detroit/Metro and Atlanta are messy, too.
The airline(s) doing least well this weekend are American and US Airways. Worse, they are impossible to get on the phone, something several JoeSentMe members have attested to this weekend. Delta has been no bargain to reach, either.
Oh, just to make the rest of your weekend rotten: The outlook for travel tomorrow morning is bad. Lots of freezing rain (and/or more snow) is forecast for the Northeast. There is heavy snow predicted in the Upper West and Great Lakes. And there are (comparatively speaking, of course) heavy rains on tap for the Southwest.
Even Miami and Atlantic Coast Florida has issues: rip currents, making the 80-degree day a hard one for swimming. Just sayin'...
And not for nothing, but I notice that February and now March really turned most rotten since Lesley Gore died two weeks ago. You know what that means? No sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.
3/01/15, 7AM ET, SUNDAY
COLD COMFORT--WITH PLENTY OF SNOW
You want statistical proof that this has been the Worst. February. Ever.? You surely know that Boston and New England are at or beyond record snowfall this month. That's a given. But it's also been the snowiest February on record in Denver, where the month actually started out fair and mild. And the Chicago Tribune reports that Chicagoland's average temperature for the month was 14.6 degrees. That ties the coldest February on record, which was in 1875. That is cold comfort, indeed.
2/28/15, 10PM ET, SATURDAY
DOWN GOES COPENHAGEN
Proof positive that if it can go wrong, it has gone wrong this month. SAS cancelled about 60 flights at its Copenhagen hub today when cabin crew walked off the job. They were protesting working conditions. SAS said it has a deal with its union for employees to go back to work on Sunday. The union says it hasn't been able to convince its rank-and-file to return to their jobs. Stay tuned.
2/28/15, 9AM ET, SATURDAY
MY BAD...BUT DFW IS WORSE
Okay, I'll take the bullet on this one, a storm that is playing havoc with travel to/through/from Dallas.
Remember yesterday morning's newsletter when I said there was a moment when it wasn't snowing anywhere in America? And that it was ruined when it started snowing in Dallas?
Yeah, well, here's what happened after the newsletter went out. One to four inches of snow fell in the Dallas Metroplex and Dallas reacted as if it had never snowed before. There were multi-car pileups on the roads and, at Dallas/Fort Worth, chaos ensued. American Airlines and its commuter carriers began canceling flights by the bunches--and without notice. You know, like the bad old days.
The result? More than 700 cancellations for the day at DFW, hundreds more delays and hordes of angry customers crowding the terminals. Lots of folks spent the night in those terminals and a few food and beverage places stayed open. And it wasn't any better if you actually got on an aircraft. JoeSentMe contributor Charlene Baumbich was on a flight (after being cancelled the day before) that was nearing its three-hour hold time on the tarmac. Haven't heard how that turned out. Let us know when you wake up, Charlene...
FYI, there was much less disruption at Dallas/Love Field, where Southwest cancelled fewer than two dozen flights.
But, wait, there's more. Overnight, ice and freezing rain covered the unshoveled snow and that is causing new chaos today. More than 600 takeoffs and landings have already been dumped at DFW. And it's not just the traditionally unreliable Envoy Air (fka American Eagle). Today, so far, nearly 400 cancellations are on mainline American Airlines flights. So here's the exit question: When is Dallas going to admit it gets snow and ice in the winter? It's not as if this is a unique situation. DFW is becoming totally unreliable as a place to change planes in winter because the airport seems consistently, even arrogantly, unprepared for the conditions they get in winter.
2/26/15, 8:45PM ET, THURSDAY
YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW
Wednesday was about as bad as predicted. The Southern storm played havoc with the region's major airports. Of the 1,581 flights cancelled yesterday in the United States, 1,144 were dumped at just three airports: Atlanta, Charlotte and Dallas/Fort Worth. (Those figures come from FlightAware.com.) Today has been a little better, with fewer cancellations (1,362). While Charlotte is still suffering (about a third of its flights cancelled), it's been a tough day in Chicago, too. A storm, complete with lake-effect snow, has led to more than 250 cancellations at O'Hare. And as you'd expect, a little snow is a big disaster in Washington. A third of the flights at National Airport have been scrubbed. One in five flights dropped in Philadelphia, too. By comparison, tomorrow looks like nirvana. There are just 20 flights cancelled so far, according to FlightStats.com.
2/25/15, 6:15PM ET, WEDNESDAY
DOWN GOES CHARLOTTE
American Airlines and its US Airways division have decided to close its Charlotte hub at 9 pm tonight in advance of tonight's snow, which is predicted to drop as much as eight inches in the area. That'll wipe out at least two hours of late-evening departures and arrivals. How will Charlotte fare tomorrow? No one knows. You might want to keep your eyes (and your Internet device) focused on the Charlotte Twitter feed @cltairport.
North Carolina governor Pat McCrory has already declared a state of emergency in the state. The state's major power supplier, Duke Energy, says the six-inch mark is when power lines go down around the Carolinas due to falling tree limbs. That's bad news since at least that much has fallen in some areas of northern Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia today.
2/25/15, 6PM ET, WEDNESDAY
THE SOUTH SHALL NOT RISE AGAIN
Remember last February's winter storms that crippled the metropolitan Atlanta area for days? (If you don't, check here.) So do Atlantans, thus the paranoid preparations going on for tonight and tomorrow. A major storm front dropping a wintry mix across the South and Southeast is already dumping a copious amount of snow around the region. The National Weather Service's forecast is ominous. Many schools and businesses around the area closed today and will be closed tomorrow. Roads, snarled for days last February, are mostly empty now.
And, yes, there's bad news at the airports: Nearly 600 takeoffs and landings have been scrubbed today at Delta's Atlanta hub. Almost 200 flights have been dumped at Charlotte, the US Airways hub. There are plenty of cancellations at Raleigh/Durham, too. And the Dallas airports--DFW and Love--are still struggling to rebound from yesterday's storms.
2/25/15, 10AM ET, WEDNESDAY
AS MISERABLE A TUESDAY AS WE EXPECTED
So Tuesday was about as miserable as we expected on the road (see below). More than 1,000 flights were cancelled and 6,200 more delayed, according to FlightStats.com. The snow grounded about 300 flights at Atlanta/Hartsfield, home of Delta Air Lines. Flights at Dallas/Fort Worth were also dumped in serious numbers, most of them by American Airlines and its commuter carriers. Things were also tough at Charleston, Charlotte, Raleigh/Durham and other airlines around the South.
2/25/15, 4AM ET, WEDNESDAY
AND NOW A GROUNDING AT SOUTHWEST
Southwest Airlines abruptly grounded 128 of its Boeing 737s overnight because it missed scheduled inspections. The missed inspections were of a secondary hydraulic system. The grounding led to about 80 cancellations late Tuesday, most of them at Southwest's Denver hub. The groundings would have been troublesome today because 128 planes represent about a fifth of Southwest's fleet of 665 jets. But the FAA has ridden to the rescue (temporarily) by saying that Southwest can fly the planes for five days while it completes the required inspections. If any of this sounds familiar, you're not hallucinating. The FAA fined Southwest in 2008 for not inspecting small cracks in the fuselage of its aircraft. Details of that situation are here.
2/24/15, 4PM ET, TUESDAY
C'MON, THIS IS JUST RIDICULOUS
Okay, this is really getting ridiculous. While the Northeast is in a deep, deep freeze--it dropped to double digits below zero in some places last night--the South and Southeast are reeling from several snow and ice storms. And guess what? Another one is on its way tonight and tomorrow. It'll drop snow, rain and ice from Dallas to the Eastern Seaboard, which means plenty of trouble at the Dallas/Fort Worth, Dallas/Love, Atlanta and Charlotte hubs as well as smaller airports in the area. Delta, American, US Airways and JetBlue are out with travel waivers, so here we go again...
2/24/15, 3:30PM ET, TUESDAY
IF IT'S TUESDAY, IT MUST BE ATLANTA
Yesterday it was Dallas. Today it's Atlanta, Charlotte, Charleston, Raleigh/Durham and other important Southeast airports. Snow, rain, freezing rain and all the other hateful components of "wintry mix" have hobbled the region today. About a third of the flights (300) at Atlanta/Hartsfield, Delta's hometown, have already been scrubbed. That also represents about 30 percent of all the flights dropped nationwide, most of the rest originating at or destined for the Carolinas. The residual effects of yesterday's ice storm in Texas continue to hinder Dallas/Fort Worth. About 10 percent of the day's flights there are dumped.
2/24/15, 9AM ET, TUESDAY
JUST ANOTHER MANIC MONDAY
Is it redundant to call it another brutal February day on the road? Haven't they all been that? Thanks to the ice storm in Texas, more than 1,100 flights were cancelled at American Airlines' Dallas/Fort Worth hub yesterday. That's about 60 percent of the airline's daily schedule. Over at Dallas/Love Field, dominated by Southwest Airlines, about 25 percent of the day's takeoff and landings (121 flights) were dumped. The Dallas cancellations collectively represented about three-quarters of the approximately 1,600 flights dropped nationwide. And there were more than 6,300 domestic flights delayed, almost indiscriminately distributed at the nation's major hubs in the East, Midwest and South. In other words, another Manic February Monday.
2/22/15, 3PM ET, SUNDAY
THE WEATHER MESSES WITH TEXAS
Locals say don't mess with Texas but, you know, Mother Nature doesn't give a rat's patootie what Texans think. Amarillo is getting whacked with snow and there are ice warnings up for many parts of the state tonight and tomorrow morning. Bottom line? DFW is going down. American Airlines' largest hub has already cancelled half of its flights tomorrow (Monday), according to FlightAware.com. Expect even more to be dumped as the day goes on. More than 150 DFW flights have been dropped today. Love Field, the Southwest Airlines hub, won't be much fun tomorrow, either.
Meanwhile, East Coast airports continue to suffer residual delays and cancellations today even though the weather has finally pushed past the freezing point. As of 3pm, hundreds of flights have been cancelled and several thousand delayed at the New York metro area airports, Philadelphia and the Washington-area airports. Charlotte is a mess, too. And there are higher-than-normal cancellations in Denver today as a result of yesterday's snow.
But, wait, there's more. After today's warm-up, temperatures will plunge in the East again tonight and tomorrow, which means lots of icing. If you're planning to travel around the East early in the week, leave extra time to get to/from airports for morning flights. Why? Black ice on the roads will likely cause rush-hour chaos.
2/22/15, 11:45AM ET, SUNDAY
HARD GOING IN EUROPE AND THE UK THIS WEEKEND
It's not a patch on the problems here in the United States and Canada, but it's been a pretty lousy travel weekend in Europe. There have been higher-than-normal cancellations and delays running north of an hour at the major UK airports and several continental hubs. Generally rotten weather is the cause, but, let's be honest, it's hard to focus on those delays while we're struggling with our home-grown issues, including The Weather Channel naming the next storm Quantum.
2/22/15, 8:45AM ET, SUNDAY
HOW MANY WAYS ARE THERE TO SAY 'CANCELLED'?
FlightStats.com reports that more than 1,400 flights were cancelled nationwide yesterday, a nasty 7.62 percent of the system. Most frequent dumpers were, of course, the commuter carriers tied to the major airlines. Trans States cancelled 40 percent of its flights, Air Wisconsin and Shuttle America each dropped more than 20 percent. Republic, one of the nation's leading commuters, scrubbed 22 percent of its schedule. The culprit? Bad weather conditions in the Northeast and MidAtlantic that screwed up travel. More than 275 takeoffs and landings were scrubbed at Washington/National. Washington/Dulles lost more than 175. Philadelphia, Newark, Baltimore-Washington and, to a lesser extent, New York/Kennedy, were also affected. Denver had a bad day, too. Charlotte was snarled as well. See what happens when you listen to the Weather Channel and let them name a storm Pandora... Oh, by the way, as I warned you in my winter-weather travel strategy column, booking commuter flights is always a crummy option.
2/21/15, 1:45PM ET, SATURDAY
NO CHECKED LUGGAGE FOR YOU, SAYS AMERICAN
A passel of flights left American Airlines' Miami hub yesterday without checked luggage. Some sort of glitch, which isn't unusual for the dreary Miami hub. American could have told passengers before the flights departed, but no-o-o-o--oh... In-flight crews, who knew their aircraft were flying without luggage, decided they shouldn't talk about the luggage. They may have mentioned it once, but they probably got away with it. And when passengers arrived at their destination, but checked bags didn't? Omerta. The code of silence kicked in and no one told passengers. The results? Many hours-long waits at American carousels around the country that ended fruitlessly. The International Business Times Web site has a story--complete with pictures and angry passenger tweets--here. And without putting too fine a point on it--besides, I'm out of pop-culture references--I have warned you not to fly with checked luggage during the winter. Or, come to think about it, almost ever...
2/21/15, 11:45AM ET, SATURDAY
OPENING PANDORA'S BOX VIA THE WEATHER CHANNEL
Here's the biggest news of all: The Weather Channel has won. Its relentless marketing campaign aimed at naming winter storms appears to have succeeded. Everyone is calling this storm Pandora, another one of those made-up Weather Channel names. (By contrast, the National Weather Service names summer storms.) Needless to say, we're opening a Pandora's box if we allow a private enterprise to own naming rights to weather conditions. But, hey, we live in a world where Delta doesn't think you have the right to know what your points are worth, so...
2/21/15, 10:45AM ET, SATURDAY
WHAT'S LEFT? A PLAGUE OF LOCUSTS?
Let me try it this way: If Mother Nature makes it, it will fall somewhere in America this weekend and Monday. Flying and traveling on the weekend into Monday will be, well, icky, for huge chunks of the nation.
In the west, around Colorado, there'll be big snow. East of the Mississippi, from the 1-40 Corridor north to Toronto, there'll be snow, sleet, ice, freezing rain, sleet and, I think, the odd plague of locusts. After a brief warm-up, more terribly cold weather across huge parts of the nation.
Okay, for the hard-core news. Airlines are out with a, er, um, blizzard of travel waivers. They are geographically and chronologically diverse, so you might want to check your specific travel plans against the airlines' exceptions. All the hubs east of the Mississippi, as well as Dallas and Denver, are covered.
AIR CANADA: http://www.aircanada.com/en/travelinfo/before/operation/index.html
ALASKA AIRLINES: http://www.alaskaair.com/content/travel-info/before-your-trip/travel-tips/travel-advisories.aspx
AMERICAN AIRLINES: http://www.aa.com/i18n/travelInformation/travelAlerts.jsp
DELTA AIR LINES: https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/advisories.html
JETBLUE AIRWAYS: http://www.jetblue.com/JetblueAlerts/WeatherUpdate.aspx
PORTER AIRLINES: https://www.flyporter.com/Travel/Advisories
UNITED AIRLINES: http://www.united.com/CMS/en-US/travel/news/Pages/travelnotices.aspx
US AIRWAYS: http://www.usairways.com/TravelCenter/Advisories.aspx
VIRGIN AMERICA: https://www.virginamerica.com/cms/traveler-alerts
If you want to forget New England's particular travails this winter, consider this: Nashville has been below freezing for six consecutive days and the entire town is covered in ice. It is warming up this morning, which means it'll be rain for the Music City today before icing up again.
There are widespread predictions of ice in Dallas late Sunday into the Monday morning commute. And if you've ever tried to get to Dallas/Fort Worth on the LBJ in icy conditions, you know that Texans have zero idea about what it takes. I mean, it's bad. Guns are drawn, cars are crashed, tempers are lost and flights are missed.
Right now, conditions aren't particularly irksome. There were "only" 500 cancellations yesterday, but an eyebrow-raising 6,600 delays. Fewer delays so far today (900 or so), but cancellations are rising (540). Most of the problems so far are at Washington/National, St. Louis and Newark. Nothing much tomorrow off the board yet, but don't get cocky. As always, thanks to FlightStats.com for the numbers.
Plan accordingly, folks. Could be very annoying. The only safe spots: California, Arizona and Florida, where the weather has finally gotten back into the 50s in most of the state.
Beware locusts. And I wouldn't rule out thunderstorms of hail and fire (Exodus 9:13-35). Imagine what the Weather Channel's Jim Cantore will do if he sees that!
2/20/15, 9AM ET, FRIDAY
THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULDN'T
Boston's worst 30-day snow period on record has helped make it the third-snowiest winter in Beantown's history. And let's just say the city's notorious mass-transit system is having a hard time keeping its act together. The Wall Street Journal has some color--or at least as much color as you can have when it's a story about snow--here. Meanwhile, The Boston Globe has some background on what's wrong with the city's system and what it will take (in cash and political capital) to fix it. That story is here.
2/18/15, 9:45AM ET, WEDNESDAY
A BAD DAY -- BUT DON'T TELL BOSTON
The MidAtlantic and, especially, the Southeast, got a full dose of this February's weather yesterday and that made it a bad, bad day to fly. More than 1,600 flights were cancelled nationwide, according to FlightStats.com, and many were in the region. Worst hit: US Airways' Charlotte hub, where more than 300 flights were dumped and 700 delayed. That's essentially most of the schedule. More than 200 flights were dropped at Nashville. There were also plenty of delays and cancellations at Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, Richmond and Washington/National and Washington/Dulles.
The 2-to-6 inches of snow around the Washington region shut down the town. Those derisive chuckles you hear are from Boston, where about 100 inches have fallen this season.
2/18/15, 9:15AM ET, WEDNESDAY
AS I WAS ALSO SAYING ...
Okay, here's proof that this is the Worst. February. Ever. Flights have been cancelled and delayed all day at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport due to heavy snow. FlightStats.com says Turkish Airlines has dropped more than 550 flights. Pegasus and SunExpress, two Istanbul-based carriers, have dumped 60 more. Another 60+ flights have been cancelled at Sabiha Gokcen, Istanbul's other major airport.
2/17/15, 11:45AM ET, TUESDAY
AS I WAS SAYING ...
New York magazine has picked up on the worst-February-ever meme. A piece posted on its Web site details some of the nasty weather records broken this month.
2/16/15, 11:15AM ET, MONDAY
AND NOW THE MIDATLANTIC GETS IT
Boy, do I hate writing these weather notes...almost as much as I hate traveling in this weather. Today, tonight and tomorrow, it's going to be all about the I-40 Corridor, the border states and the MidAtlantic.
The weather geeks are predicting upwards of eight inches of snow in Washington, dangerous because an inch tends to shut down the town. There are also forecasts of 2-4 inches in Philadelphia and a wintry mix of ice, sleet and snow for the Carolinas and Virginia. Plus bad travel conditions along the I-40 Corridor from the Mississippi to the East.
Half of the flights today at Nashville and Memphis are already gone. Cancellations are picking up at Charlotte, the US Airways hub. It's snowing hard in Louisville. In other words, from Little Rock to the Atlantic, there's bad travel weather. Given that these regions are less able to handle this weather--they don't have enough plows and salt spreaders to clear the roads--you may miss your flight even if it operates.
2/16/15, 9AM ET, MONDAY
ABOUT LAST NIGHT...
Now, about last night. No, wait, that was a movie. About yesterday. More than 2,100 flights were cancelled in the United States, says FlightStats.com. Almost all were in the Northeast. According to FlightAware.com, 60 percent of the flights at Boston/Logan were dumped. A third of the flights at New York/LaGuardia and Newark were dumped. About 20 percent were gone at JFK and 15 percent were scrubbed in Philadelphia. In Canada, about half were cancelled at Halifax.
Then there's the cold. East of the Mississippi, temperatures are far below seasonal norms. And it will get progressively worse all week. We're talking brutal cold with overnight wind chills well below zero in the Northeast and temps down to the 40s in some areas of Florida. In other words, leave extra time for travel to/from the airport. There'll be a much higher incidence of breakdowns and dead-battery stuff.
I'll say what I said earlier this month: Last winter was worse for travel. But February this year has been just brutal. Boston, where the weather has been the worst, has gotten 95.7 inches of snow this season, third-highest on record. And since the vast majority of that accumulation has been in February, travel conditions in the region are difficult. There's just no place to put all the snow.
2/14/15, 3:30PM ET, SATURDAY
ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH...
It's snowing in most parts of the Northeast and the National Weather Service is out with some frightening forecasts for Boston and Portland again and lesser, but still annoying, alerts as far south as Washington and as far west as Cleveland.
Okay, first, the nightmare scenarios. For the Boston area, they are talking about another 10-14 inches of snow and blizzard conditions with wind gusts as high as 60 miles per hour. But, wait, it gets worse if you're in Portland cooking with Ralph Raffio. The NWS there is calling for a blizzard with accumulations of as much as 24 inches.
Although cancellations today have been modest, the airlines have already scrubbed about half their schedule tomorrow at Boston/Logan. But don't expect anything to move there if the blizzard hits tonight. About a quarter of the flights at LaGuardia in New York tomorrow are already gone. There are also significant cancels at New York/JFK tomorrow and about one in ten flights at Washington/National are also off the board.
The only saving grace, at least for us business travelers? This is a light weekend for travel with the President's Day weekend upon us. Many of us may not need to get back on the road until Monday evening--when things should be better.
The airlines are out with travel waivers for as far north as Halifax and as far south as Washington. The validity dates and geographic destinations vary substantially, however, so consult them carefully if your travel is somewhere in the danger zone.
The big problem for cities from Providence (about eight inches predicted there) to Portland is that there's no place to put this additional snow. They're still struggling to get rid of what's fallen in the last 30 days. That'll make getting around town difficult in the days ahead.
And, oh, conditions are absolutely frigid in the Northeast. Even where snowfall is due to be lighter (like New York and Philadelphia), wind chills overnight have been below zero. Mid-day temps haven't cracked the freezing mark for several days.
Now that I've ruined your Valentine's Day, have a candy for me. If you're hunkering down, I recommend two Bogie classics this evening on TCM: The Harder They Fall and The Caine Mutiny. And on NBC, they'll be running the first-ever Saturday Night Live tonight in front of the big 40th anniversary celebration that starts at 8pm on Sunday night. Or, you know, there's always the NBA All-Star festivities if you're not bored by dunks and pseudo-teamwork...
2/12/15, 5:30PM ET, THURSDAY
COLD COMFORT FROM THE STATISTICS
This will be extremely cold comfort, but MasFlight.com, the aviation analysts, say things could be worse. Last year kind of worse. The agency says 126,000 flights were cancelled last winter. So far this year, only about 21,000 flights have been dumped. That makes it a "typical" winter. Although Boston--which suffered through 2,800 cancellations at Logan during this storm--may not agree. It's now officially the third-worst winter on record.
2/9/15, 1:30PM ET, MONDAY
AS EXPECTED, IT'S A MESS OUT THERE
As I warned yesterday, today is turning into a mess in the Northeast with many more cancellations than expected and whatever that is running suffering heavy delays.
There are already about 1,900 cancellations today, according to both FlightStats.com and FlightAware.com. Almost all of them are to/from Boston/Logan and the major New York Area airports.
At Logan, about 60 percent of the takeoffs and landings today have been cancelled. More than half of New York/LaGuardia's schedule has been scrubbed. About 30 percent of Newark's flights have been dropped. New York/Kennedy, closer to the rainy edge of the storm, has lost about 20 percent of its schedule.
There are delays, but many fewer cancellations, at Philadelphia, Washington/National and Washington/Dulles. If you don't have to travel to or from the Northeast today, skip it. Tomorrow will be better, but still shaky since there'll still be periods of snow and freezing rain. Think Wednesday before things are back to normal.
By the way, if you're wondering if airlines and airports are overreacting, consider: A foot of snow had fallen today at Boston/Logan by 7am, according to The Weather Channel. That means Boston and environs have received 61.6 inches of snow in the last 30 days, the highest on record. The New York airports are struggling with what the weather geeks call a "wintry mix" of snow, sleet, rain and, worst of all, freezing rain.
Stay flexible and dry, fellow travelers. There's still six weeks of winter to go!
2/8/15, 11AM ET, SUNDAY
As the clock flips to 6 0 0 and I Got You Babe blares from the radio, I'm here again to report about another nasty storm in the Northeast and Canada. And, as a "bonus," high winds and rains will mess up schedules at San Francisco.
Believe it or not, upwards of two feet of snow could hit Northern New York State, Boston and New England in the next 48 hours. Less snowy, but more annoying conditions, are forecast for the New York Metro and Philadelphia areas. Expect lots of delays and many cancellations tonight and tomorrow and residual problems through Tuesday. Similar warnings go as far north as Canada. Dozens of flights today have already been cancelled at Boston/Logan and our man Ralph Raffio reports it has already snowed in Portland, Maine. Most airlines are out with travel waivers from the MidAtlantic through Canada.
Speaking of San Francisco conditions, there are high winds forecast for the next 48 hours and that will play havoc with arrivals and departures. If not outright cancellations (although there have already been a few dozen), there will be many (and long) delays. There are even predictions of rain. That counts as a meteorological miracle since San Francisco received no measurable amounts of precipitation in the month of January for the first time in recorded history.
Plan accordingly. I'm going to go downstairs, steal the toaster and toss it into my bath water 'cause I'm not sure I can write another one of these...
1/31/15, 12:15PM ET, SATURDAY
MEET THE NEW TRAVEL PREP, SAME AS THE OLD TRAVEL PREP
A column I wrote last year at this time about winter travel prep still makes sense because everything old is new again when it comes to weather. Click here to read it.
1/31/15, 11:45AM ET, SATURDAY
ANOTHER WEEK, ANOTHER BIG WINTER STORM
Feeling a little circumspect after last week's "missed by this much" prediction of an "historic" storm for the entire Northeast Corridor, the National Weather Service was being very careful about making a call for this next system. The storm turned out to be a bit of an oddball, too, stretching horizontally from the Midwest to the Northeast. Click here to see how we covered it.
1/25/15, 1PM ET, SUNDAY
AN 'HISTORIC,' IF SOMEWHAT SELECTIVE, STORM
The usually circumspect National Weather Service predicted an "historic" storm for the Northeast--and the NWS was right, just selectively. The Washington Metro area was relatively unscathed. Philadelphia and New York dodged the bullet. But most of New England didn't. Parts of Maine and Massachusetts got socked with 36 inches of snow and more than two feet fell on Boston/Logan Airport. Click here to see how we covered it.
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