Flight maps shared by the U.S. government showed a mass diversion of routes to avoid thunderstorms pummeling the East Coast.
Over 1,100 flights were canceled on Monday, with more than 3,000 delayed, across the eastern United States due to severe thunderstorms. According to The Weather Channel, the storms were forecast to start in the South, around northern Alabama and Georgia, and advance north throughout the day, all the way through parts of New York and New England. In all, around 120 million people are likely to be affected by the storms.
A little after 4 p.m. Monday EST, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) took to one of its official social media accounts to share a map, which showed flight paths being re-routed around the tempests battering the eastern states. The agency also warned that further flight pauses were likely coming for major cities.
“The FAA is re-routing aircraft around the storms heading to the East Coast as much as possible,” the post read. “Soon we will likely have to pause departures in and out of East Coast airports including NYC, Philly, DC, Charlotte, and Atlanta.”
The Weather Channel’s report predicted that the storms would bring “destructive straight-line winds” liable to “topple trees and knock out power.” Bouts of “large hail, flash flooding, and isolated tornadoes” were also predicted in some areas throughout Monday, with flash flood threats expected to last through Tuesday in parts of New England. This includes Vermont, a state that has already been coping with severe flooding in recent weeks.
Among the regions most affected by flight disruptions, according to CNN, was Atlanta, with the metro area’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport seeing around 100 cancellations of outbound flights as of Monday afternoon, alongside roughly 250 delays.
Delta Airlines, headquartered in Atlanta, also suffered major disruptions due to the heavy impact of storms in the region, with around 280 canceled flights and 500 delays.
“Due to continued severe weather that impacted our Atlanta hub, Delta teams are working hard to recover the operation and we apologize to our customers who’ve experienced delays to their travel plans,” a Delta spokesperson told CNN.
Newsweek reached out to experts at AccuWeather via email on Monday evening for further insight.
CNN noted in its report that Monday’s weather exacerbated struggles in the air travel industry, which has been plagued by cancellations and delays for months, owing to factors like staffing shortages.
Looking ahead, The Weather Channel reported that severe storms could return on Wednesday, starting in the “mid-Mississippi Valley and Ozarks” before moving east on Thursday.
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