Inclement weather was majorly disrupting some holiday travelling on the East Coast as countless Americans began their holiday trek on Wednesday. However, the anticipated gridlock was not what many had thought it would be.
Currently, the storms that have been raiding the East Coast have not caused any flight delays or cancellations. Forecasters are saying that it will probably only get better as the weather situation continued.
Statistics from FlightAware.com showed that early Wednesday morning, over 230 flights had been canceled. Most of the cancelled flights were coming out of or going to three major Northeast hubs: Philadelphia International, Newark Liberty International, and LaGuardia.
Philadelphia suffered delays of up to two hours. This was due to a flood watch with anywhere from two to three inches of rain forecast. Flights were being held up to two hours as a result.
Roads in Philadelphia were just as complicated. A multi-vehicle accident combined with flooding closed both east and westbound lanes on the Schuylkill Expressway on what is usually the busiest travelling day of the year.
The East Coast was not the only area where inclement weather disrupted holiday travel in a major fashion. A storm that occurred in the West this past weekend has been given responsibility at least 11 deaths. Five of those fatalities were in Texas. However, the storm became less intense as it moved to the East.
A massive amount of rain was moving over the Northeast and was anticipated to slowly move out to the Atlantic and portions of Canada as the day continued. Winds were also a concern on Wednesday morning in Boston. Southeast New England was under a high wind warning with a possibility of wind gusts of close to 60 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service headquarters in Maryland.
Behind that storm was snow that was stretching into the western part of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and southeastern parts of the United States. This was expected to move into areas of the Mid Atlantic by Wednesday evening.
A spokesman for the National Weather Service said that the storm was typical for this time of year. Chris Vaccaro of the National Weather Service said that although the timing was poor, travelers could expect a gradual improvement in weather conditions across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
Over 43 million people usually travel over Thanksgiving weekend, according to the American Automobile Association. Close to 39 million of those will be on the roads and about 3 million will travel by plane. The weather could affect air travel along the East Coast, especially in Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, Charlotte, N.C., and New York.
Transportation officials have urged those travelling to consult their airlines and to travel at a slower than normal speed on the highways. In some cases, travel experts said that those travelling by air might not have to suffer penalty fees if they wanted to change their reservations due to weather conditions.
In spite of the major disruption of holiday travel on the East Coast due to inclement weather, most of the country did not suffer major weather woes . Those flying out of or into O’Hare airport were pleasantly surprised at the orderliness of the airport. Most travelers there seemed to only be worried about making a tight connection.
By Rick Hope