A powerful and deadly winter storm is wreaking havoc on travelers returning home after the holiday weekend. Snow is slamming the Northeast on Sunday night, while thousands are stranded in airports and on the roads.
Some parts of the Northeast will see up to 20 inches of snow. Winter storm alerts have been issued across 15 states, meaning some 125 million Americans are in the storm’s path. The storm has been dumping heavy snow from parts of California to the northern Midwest while inundating other areas with rain.
Early Sunday, there were cancellations and delays at all three major airports in the tri-state area, CBS New York reported. More than 3 million people were expected to fly Sunday, and the weather could impact travelers Monday, too.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo placed National Guard personnel on standby and activated New York’s emergency operations center to enhanced monitoring mode in response to the winter storm. New Jersey Mayor Phil Murphy said he and other state officials were also monitoring weather conditions and urging residents to be prepared.
It’s expected to be a cold rain for most of Sunday in Philadelphia, but areas northwest of the city, including Berks County, Upper Montgomery County, Upper Bucks County and the Lehigh Valley into the Poconos could see some ice accumulations and maybe even some snow, CBS Philadelphia reported.
Forecasters said a new storm is expected to bring several feet of mountain snow, rain and gusty winds to California through the weekend. Another system is forecast to develop in the mid-Atlantic Sunday, moving into a nor’easter by Monday.
Flight delays and cancellations
As of 4 p.m ET, some 687 Sunday flights were canceled in the U.S., compared with about 400 on Saturday, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.
Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey has had 47 flight cancellations. Some inbound planes are being delayed by an average of more than 2½ hours because of the weather.
There were also dozens of flight delays in Chicago and Minneapolis.
In Denver, 100 flights were canceled Saturday because of high winds.
Major delays were reported at San Francisco International Airport on Sunday, CBS San Francisco reported. The FAA reported delays of more than four hours for some SFO flights as storms continued to disrupt travel not only in the Bay Area but also in the Midwest and along the East Coast.
The extensive delays and cancellations have prompted some travelers to take matters into their own hands.
Dorothy and Robert Todd told CBS New York their original flight was scheduled for Monday morning, but they switched to an earlier flight to Tampa.
“[Robert’s] one daughter phoned us this morning and said you better look at something, it looks like we are going to get hammered,” Dorothy said.
“Looking at the weather, we knew we weren’t going to get out. We tried Manchester, where we were going out of, couldn’t get out, couldn’t get out of Boston. Then we got a flight out of here,” Robert explained.
What’s going to make travel even more difficult is the wide impact the weather is expected to have.
“We had a six o’clock flight Monday morning and first off, the plane probably won’t get in Sunday night, so that’s the start of it,” Robert added.
American Airlines is offering travel waivers for passengers traveling through the Northeast. Delta is also waiving fees for flight changes or cancellations.
Two adults and four other children were rescued by helicopter, but a 6-year-old girl is still missing. Rescuers are combing the area of Tonto Basin, about 50 miles northeast of Phoenix, with helicopters, drones, boats and dogs.
“We want to bring her home safely to her family,” said Lieutenant Virgil Dodd of the Gila County Sheriff’s Office. “She needs to come home today, and we’re going to do that.”
Two boys, ages 5 and 8, died Saturday near Patton, Missouri, when the vehicle they were riding in was swept off flooded roads.
A 48-year-old man died in a separate incident near Sedgewickville, Missouri, and a storm-related death was also reported in South Dakota.
Major highways reopened Sunday in Wyoming and Colorado, a day after blizzard conditions clogged roads with snow drifts.
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