US winter storms force cancellation of over 4,000 flights

Snow covers a US airport tarmac.
Photo Credit: FAA

LONDON – Travellers arriving, departing and travelling within the mainland United States have been warned to expect disruption as the nation braces for a severe cold snap from a “bomb cyclone” weather event.

The arrival of Winter Storm Elliott, and what weather forecasters have described as a “once in a generation” weather event. may reportedly make air travel virtually impossible in the lead up to the upcoming Christmas holiday weekend.

The term ”bomb cyclone” is specifically given to an storm that intensifies rapidly, with its central air pressure dropping by at least 24 millibars in 24 hours.

US flight cancellations

News source Reuters has reported that approximately 4,400 flights have been canceled over a two-day period as the powerful winter storm has hit the continental United States

The severe weather conditions coincide with the start of a holiday season which has been predicted as being one of the busiest on record.

According to real time tracking data from Flightaware, current flight cancellations within, into and out of the US today alone are just over 3,000, with more flights delayed.

Numbers are predicted to climb as the inclement weather conditions continues to take hold.

Source: Flightaware Friday 23 December 11.00 UTC

Frigid temperatures to grip U.S.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released the following general outlook for weather conditions across the mainland United States:

Extremely cold arctic air is expected to plunge southward and impact much of the country through Hanukkah and into the week of Christmas, December 22–26, according to NOAA forecasters.

Temperatures 40 degrees below average and dangerous life-threatening wind chills as low as 50 degrees below zero are possible in the northern Rockies and northern Plains.

Sub-zero to single-digit temperatures are likely across the central Plains, Midwest, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and Midsouth. 

Well below freezing temperatures will extend into the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and as far south as the Gulf Coast through the holiday weekend. Based on National Weather Service forecasts, every state in the continental U.S. will experience temperatures below 20 degrees on Christmas Eve.

Air travel advisories

Several of the major airlines have issued travel advisories updating progressively:

American Airlines: Travel Alerts

Delta Air Lines: Current Advisories

JetBlue: Travel Alerts

Southwest Airlines: Travel Advisory

United Airlines: Travel Notices

The US continental weather alerts are current stretch for coast-to-coast and extend south as far us the US-Mexico border.

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