Numerous airlines worldwide canceled over 2000 US flights on Saturday AM (local time) as a result of a severe winter storm that stalled airport operations across the US and angered thousands of Christmas travelers, reports Reuters. According to flight tracking website FlightAware, as of Saturday morning, there had been over 4,000 total aircraft delays inside, into, or out of the US, while there had been roughly 2,000 total US flight cancellations.
The flight cancellations on Saturday morning included over 450 from Southwest Airlines and nearly 400 from Delta Air Lines Inc. The flight disruptions came as an arctic blast gripped much of the United States on Saturday, causing power outages and car wrecks.
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Plummeting temperatures were predicted to bring the coldest Christmas Eve on record to several cities from Pennsylvania to Georgia. A massive winter storm battered the US on Friday with frigid temperatures, high winds, and heavy snow, leaving at least nine people dead, knocking out power to over a million customers, and wrecking holiday plans from coast to coast reported CNN.
All modes of travel – planes, trains, and automobiles – were being disrupted: There were hundreds of miles of road closures, and flight cancellations were growing rapidly. In New York, flooding along the Long Island Rail Road forced part of the Long Beach branch to shut down temporarily.
More than 950,000 homes and businesses nationwide were without power on Christmas Eve, thanks to an Arctic blast and winter storm that tore down power lines with destructive winds and heavy snow and dipped temperatures dangerously low – conditions killing at least 15 people, reported CNN .
As bone-chilling air continues to grip the US this holiday weekend, the storm is still pummeling parts of the Upper Midwest and interior Northeast with heavy snow and blizzard conditions.
From the Plains and the Midwest to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic and even in parts of the Southeast, wind chills after the sun rose Saturday morning were below zero, according to the National Weather Service.
Even where it wasn’t snowing and howling, temperatures and wind chills have been dangerously low across much of the country. At least 15 people have died since Wednesday across seven states, a result of dangerous and life-threatening conditions this week over a large swath of the country, reported CNN.
As of 1:05 pm ET Saturday, more than 950,000 homes and businesses in the US had no electricity service, according to PowerOutage.us, which means millions of people likely do not have proper heating or hot water as extremely low temperatures persist Saturday. Hundreds of drivers across multiple states, including New York, South Dakota, and Minnesota, were stranded this week and needed rescuing. CNN reports that some states have closed major highways to deter drivers from getting behind the wheel.
Wind chills will be dangerously cold across much of the central and eastern US this weekend. “The life-threatening cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills will create a potentially life-threatening hazard for travelers that become stranded,” the National Weather Service said early Saturday.
Atlanta and Tallahassee, Florida, were forecast to have their coldest high temperatures ever recorded on December 24, according to the weather service. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were expected to see their coldest day Christmas Eve ever on Saturday. Washington, DC, could see its second-coldest on Christmas Eve, the first being in 1989. New York is set to experience its coldest Christmas Eve since 1906. Chicago is expecting temperatures to rebound above zero but will still experience its coldest Christmas Eve since 1983, reported CNN.
(With ANI inputs)