A substantial winter storm, enveloping regions from Texas and the Midwest to the Northeast, wreaked havoc on travel plans during the holiday weekend, resulting in the cancellation and delay of thousands of flights across the United States.
As of Tuesday morning, the tally of canceled flights surpassed 1,400, with an additional 2,300 experiencing delays. Major airlines, including Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Spirit Airlines, issued flight alerts covering extensive areas of the country. These alerts included provisions to waive change fees and fare differences, offering passengers flexibility in rescheduling their flights.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) responded to the adverse weather conditions by implementing temporary ground stops or ground delays on Tuesday morning, affecting airports such as New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport.
On Monday alone, airlines collectively canceled over 3,300 flights within, into, or out of the United States, as reported by flight tracker FlightAware. This was accompanied by more than 10,000 flight delays. Airports experienced widespread disruptions, with mass cancellations stretching from Houston to Denver and Chicago to Washington D.C. Southwest Airlines bore the brunt of the impact, canceling over 780 flights and registering more than 1,700 delays. United Airlines, dealing with the ongoing grounding of its Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft, recorded a total of 489 cancellations.
The winter weather system, which blanketed the country from the Midwest to the East Coast over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend, led to extraordinary snowfall. In Western New York, accumulations exceeded three feet, while the New York City area received about an inch and a half of snow by Monday night, marking the most substantial snowfall in nearly two years, according to the National Weather Service.
Iowa, where the Iowa Republican caucuses took place on Monday, faced frigid temperatures plunging to the minus 10s, exacerbated by wind chills as low as minus 40, as reported by CNN.
In Texas, the northern part of the state was under hard freeze warnings on Tuesday, with CBS News Texas indicating that temperatures could potentially dip below 10 degrees in certain areas. The far-reaching impact of this winter weather system continues to disrupt travel plans and prompt cautionary measures across the affected regions.