Update January 2019: Winter Weather Impacts Eastern United States and Southeastern Canada — and Remembering When Atlanta Was Paralyzed Five Years Ago Today

Additional waivers have been announced by airlines for passengers who are traveling to, from or within the eastern half of the United States or southeastern Canada due to a major winter storm which is disrupting travel at a minimum of 100 airports in as many as 16 states and six provinces and has already resulted in hundreds of flights being delayed or canceled.

Update January 2019: Winter Weather Impacts Eastern United States and Southeastern Canada — and Remembering When Atlanta Was Paralyzed Five Years Ago Today

Up to one foot of snow is expected to accumulate in such cities as Minneapolis, Burlington, Chicago, Brainerd, Madison, Bangor, Green Bay, Fargo, Milwaukee, Québec and Saint Paul; while up to six inches of snow could occur in cities such as Detroit, Albany, Concord, Bismarck, Allentown, Bristol, Worcester, Montréal and Portland.

Cities such as Cleveland, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Sioux Falls, Roanoke, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Boston, Cincinnati, Hartford and the District of Columbia are forecast to receive as must as three inches of snow.

After the snow ends, a brutal blast of Arctic air caused by a polar vortex will plunge temperatures from Alberta to central Florida to Maine on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 with the most frigid air in years in many locations. As one example, the low temperature in Fargo — which was experiencing blizzard conditions yesterday — is forecast to be -33 degrees Fahrenheit; and the air will feel as cold as -44 degrees Fahrenheit when the factoring in the wind. Some local areas in the northern plains states and southern plains provinces could experience ambient temperatures as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit, which could shatter weather records.

Risks of a prolonged spell of such frigid air include frostbite and hypothermia — as well as dead car batteries and the potential for water pipes to freeze and burst.

Meanwhile, snow is forecast to fall as far south as central Louisiana on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 as the result of temperatures which are expected to be colder than normal. The northern half of the state of Florida could see temperatures plummet to as much as 20 degrees below normal. Atlanta, Birmingham, Little Rock, Nashville, Jackson, Chattanooga and Montgomery are some of the cities which could see frozen precipitation, as the air will certainly be more than cold enough; and some areas could experience several inches of snow. A few flakes of snow may fall as far south as the central Gulf Coast region. The phenomenon known as black ice — which is ice that cannot easily be seen by the human eye and is especially dangerous to motorists — could occur in some areas of the southeastern United States.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If the eastern half of the United States or southeastern Canada are in your travel plans over the next week or so, expect delays and cancellations of flights. You may want to consider delaying your travel — or, at least, keep yourself updated as to the latest information pertaining to this winter weather system which may affect your travel plans. Better yet, postponing or canceling your trip might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight may be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary. If you are driving in any of the affected areas, watch out for deteriorating weather conditions and traffic problems.

Here are eleven airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of this weather system:

Summary

More travel waivers may be issued as a result of this winter weather system as it continues to travel eastward.

Be sure to contact your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are adversely affected — and please: travel safely.

Photograph ©2011 by Brian Cohen.


Five years ago today, the greater metropolitan area of Atlanta was paralyzed from a winter storm which brought ice and snow to the ill-prepared region. The following text is reposted verbatim from an article which I wrote five years ago on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 — and I knew of people whose trip of normally 20 minutes took greater than eight hours to complete on that day.

FlyerTalk Members Stranded in Atlanta Due to Weather

This image of Interstate 285 south of Cobb Parkway at 12:15 in the afternoon on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 shows all three elements contributing to the transportation woes in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area: icy roads, abandoned cars, and traffic at a standstill. Source: Georgia Department of Transportation.

Due to the abysmal lack of response by state and local authorities to a winter storm, FlyerTalk members report being stranded in the Atlanta metropolitan area until further notice…

…and it is not because of flight delays and cancellations — of which there have already been thousands nationwide due to the winter storm — but rather because of highways clogged with cars abandoned due to severe gridlock conditions and ice on the roadways throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area yesterday, which means that FlyerTalk members either cannot get to the international airport in Atlanta or are wondering if they will be able to catch their flights

…and politicians have been raked by the media and by citizens in general due to the poor response.

FlyerTalk members have been scrambling to find lodging both in and out of the airport, which was already a problem at both Hilton hotel properties and Marriott hotel properties due to conventions which were supposed to occur this week.

Meanwhile, FlyerTalk member RealHJ reported of waiting seven hours for aircraft to be deiced at the international airport which serves Atlanta — and if you were actually able to leave the international airport in Atlanta, returning to your car might have been impossible.

Officials of city, county and state governments in Georgia were caught off-guard by the weather forecasts, which predicted that a winter storm would primarily affect areas south of Atlanta — but the storm dumped between one and five inches of snow on the greater Atlanta metropolitan area. The decision to keep schools, government offices and businesses opened yesterday led to all three entities releasing students and employees at approximately the same time, leading to congestion on primary, secondary and tertiary roadways so severe that it caused unimaginable gridlock.

A state of emergency was declared by Nathan Deal — the governor of Georgia — late yesterday afternoon.

Government officials countered that the decision to shut schools, businesses and roadways on a whim because an event such as this was possible would have been irresponsible; and therefore they would have been chastised for denying businesses from engaging in commerce for the day — resulting in a potential loss of millions of dollars — and closing schools when they could have been open.

In other words, being a government official for this particular event is a no-win situation. Do you agree?

Ironically, millions of dollars have already been lost in the state and local economies anyway — and hundreds of vehicles still litter the highways. Hundreds of children were forced to stay overnight in schools because they could not get home; while others arrive home many hours later.

For those people who were actually able to reach their destinations, as many as twelve hours were spent getting to them. Some commutes which would have normally taken minutes took many hours.

Fortunately for FlyerTalk members, the freezing temperatures will not last too long in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area. The high temperature will reach 42 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday, January 30, 2014 and keep rising every day through the weekend, when the high temperature is expected to reach 63 degrees Fahrenheit…

…and each day will be sunny, helping to melt the ice and snow in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

Hopefully, government officials will have learned some hard lessons to prevent this disaster from happening again in the future…

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