A late-season winter storm has forced the cancellation of nearly 8,000 flights since Sunday, with Tuesday promising to be the worst travel day yet.
The storm, which had been forecast to bring crippling conditions to much of the Northeast, has forced airlines to move quickly to change Tuesday’s schedule. According to flight-tracking service FlightAware, Airlines cancelled 5,300 flights for the day, all before midnight Monday, preemptively.
As of 6 a.m. ET, more than 100 additional Tuesday flights have been canceled. This figure is expected to grow despite the falling snow being less than estimated in Philadelphia and Washington.
In the three big airports serving New York City, nearly all flights were canceled, and for much of Tuesday they remained under a blizzard warning. JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports had few flights operating out of them. As for smaller airports across parts of New York state and New England, they faced similar problems.
At Boston and Baltimore, most of Tuesday’s flights had already been canceled before the day began. According to FlightAware, three of the area’s major airports; Philadelphia, Washington Dulles, and Washington Reagan National, had between 30% and 50% of the day’s schedule canceled preemptively.
Some recovery is expected on Wednesday, however, carriers were cancelling flights. Before the end of Monday, more than 635 flights were grounded, and the number is likely to increase as airlines are restarting their operations.
In a Monday evening statement, FlightAware CEO Daniel Baker said: “We expect this number to rise considerably for Wednesday morning as airlines get their operations back online.”
A change in forecast:
Recovery speed will depend on the severity of the storm and whether it’s as bad as forecasted. It was initially assumed that much of the region will see 18 inches of snow, however, some forecasters are suggesting that it might rain as well, which will reduce the snow totals, as it happened in Washington and Philadelphia.
However, winds reaching up to 50 mph across New York and New England were likely to double the flights problems caused by the snow.