Skip to main content

Weather woes leave many holiday travel plans up in the air

By Tom Watkins, CNN
updated 9:43 PM EST, Fri February 14, 2014
Vehicles are piled up in an wreck Friday, February 14, in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Traffic accidents involving multiple tractor-trailers and dozens of cars completely blocked one side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike outside Philadelphia. Vehicles are piled up in an wreck Friday, February 14, in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Traffic accidents involving multiple tractor-trailers and dozens of cars completely blocked one side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike outside Philadelphia.
HIDE CAPTION
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
Southeast storm moves north
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: More than 160,000 customers are still without power
  • NEW: Some 1,700 flights within, into or out of the United States are canceled Friday
  • New storm system is predicted to drop more snow on Northeast after leaving Midwest
  • At least 21 people have been killed in weather-related incidents, authorities said

Are you feeling the effects of the winter storm? Share your images and stories with CNN iReport, but only if it is safe to do so.

(CNN) -- A long weekend bookended by two holidays -- Valentine's Day and Presidents Day -- would typically be a big one for travelers -- two reasons to take a break from routine and see a bit of the world.

But even before the weekend officially began, many were seeing little more than the inside of airport terminals.

At New York's LaGuardia Airport, one girl en route to Miami with her father seemed resigned to her fate.

"Now, we just have to wait ... and wait ... and wait ... until our flight goes out," she moped after her flight to Miami was canceled.

"I want to sink in the pool and relax, so I'm trying to keep my hopes up," the girl told CNN sister station NY1.

Winter storm wallops Northeast
Snowplow kills pregnant woman
Vehicles slip and slide in the storm
Storm puts damper on Valentine's Day

The holiday hopes of a young man at LaGuardia appeared dimmed Thursday. "I'm going to San Francisco -- Valentine's Day -- and it's pretty much over with," he told CNN affiliate WTNH-TV.

This uncertainty stretched into Friday for George Demmy, who was looking for things to do a day after Delta Air Lines canceled his return flight to Atlanta from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Rescheduled on a Sunday flight, the 47-year-old chief technology officer for a software company was staying in a hotel in Alexandria, Virginia. "What I'm doing is just kind of popping from place to place," he said. "Going to different cafes and just trying to combine work and pleasure the best I can."

He was not alone. Nate Bronstein tweeted from Philadelphia International Airport: "3 flights have been canceled trying to get to Chicago. Onto Plan D... The long wait..."

Still, the 1,700 flight cancellations and more than 7,100 delays within, into or out of the United States as of 9:30 p.m. ET Friday -- as reported by the flight tracking website, FlightAware.com -- put the airlines on track to get more people where they wanted to go than was the case Thursday. Then, more than 6,000 flights were canceled and 11,000 delayed.

A Federal Aviation Administration map showing airport conditions signaled few problem areas outside LaGuardia and New Jersey's Teterboro Airport near New York, San Francisco International and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International in Florida.

Amtrak suspended some service in the Northeast, South and Mid-Atlantic regions Thursday but canceled only two long-distance services for Friday and said it would operate a normal schedule Saturday along the Northeast Corridor.

Long-distance operations in the Southeast were also expected to resume in full Saturday.

In New York, Thursday's snow caused tractor-trailers to jackknife, prompting authorities to ban commercial traffic on Interstate 84, a major east-west highway.

In Wellesley, Massachusetts, a woman went into labor while stuck Thursday in ice-bound traffic, CNN affiliate WCVB-TV in Boston reported. She gave birth in an ambulance as it arrived at a hospital.

Most of the travel woes sprang from the nor'easter that threw sleet, snow and freezing rain across the South this week and continued to pound an icy path up though Maine on Friday after burying parts of the Northeast under a foot or more of snow.

Snow was predicted to fall at a rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour in the northernmost regions.

Reopening an airport in the storm?
Southeast paralyzed by snow and ice
Snowstorm churns north along East Coast

Near Philadelphia, freezing rain made roads slick.

But there and in New York, the storm abated by sunrise, when a winter storm warning ended.

A system was moving toward the Midwest on Friday and likely to drop 1 to 3 inches of snow, then move into the Northeast on Saturday and drop a similar amount.

And on Saturday, a fast-moving system is predicted to form in the Midwest, dropping another 1 to 3 inches of snow, then move into the Northeast, where scant accumulation is predicted.

But relief for many is on its way as higher temperatures from the South move northward. Highs on Friday are predicted to be in the 40s as far north as Richmond, Virginia.

The warmer weather should be melting ice in the Northeast by the middle of next week.

The Northwest is not being spared unsettling weather. Showers and mountain snow are predicted through the weekend in some areas, with a flood watch called for in coastal Oregon, including Portland. As much as 6 inches of rain are predicted from Friday through Sunday.

For some, it was not so much the latest snowfall, but the relentless pace of the storms.

That's why New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters Thursday: "Welcome to winter storm six of the last six weeks."

And as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said before the worst of the storm hit: "This has just been a brutal winter where it never really has gotten warmer. And so the natural melting away of snow and ice is not happening."

At least 21 deaths have been blamed on the latest storm. Three of them were in Howard County, Maryland, where three men -- ages 45, 55 and 57 -- suffered suspected cardiac arrest "while in the act of shoveling snow," county spokesman Mark Miller said.

The casualty toll includes three in Texas and eight in North Carolina, authorities said

In New York, a 36-year-old pregnant woman died after being struck by a tractor clearing snow. Her nearly full-term baby was delivered by cesarean section and remained in critical condition Friday, said Jodi Cross of Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn.

From Louisiana to Massachusetts, more than 160,000 customers were without power as of 9 p.m. Friday, a figure less than half the amount reported just nine hours earlier.

The vast majority of those outages -- more than 155,000 -- were in North and South Carolina.

The United States had no lock on challenging weather. CNN iReporter El-Branden Brazil shot images in Tokyo as residents coped with the heaviest snow the city has seen in years.

And in Datchet, England, flooding was severe, and even Princes William and Harry helped move sandbags.

CNN's Mayra Cuevas, Elizabeth Landers, John Newsome, Ben Brumfield and Sherri Pugh contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Weathering the storm
updated 10:09 PM EST, Thu February 13, 2014
To understand how human nature sometimes doesn't heed winter weather warnings, listen to how Deanna Hunt didn't listen.
updated 7:11 AM EST, Wed February 12, 2014
A foot of snow may look big and bad, but it's a bunch of fluff compared to a solid inch of ice.
updated 2:58 PM EST, Tue February 11, 2014
Atlanta residents stranded on icy interstates and at strangers' homes during a January 28 winter storm aren't taking any chances now.
updated 7:54 AM EST, Wed January 29, 2014
Snow in the South is a delight -- but only when you're admiring it standing next to your cozy living room fireplace.
updated 1:26 PM EST, Wed February 12, 2014
The majestic trees that line streets across the American South are a beautiful sight most of the year.
updated 7:31 AM EST, Thu February 13, 2014
As winter storms continue to pound the United States, customers inevitably ask why doesn't somebody do something about this?
updated 2:40 PM EST, Wed January 29, 2014
No one imagined a thin sheet of ice could wreak this much havoc.
updated 10:54 AM EST, Tue January 7, 2014
Patience and common sense will serve you well.
updated 1:17 PM EST, Fri January 3, 2014
Power outages can pose safety challenges for medication and food.
can opener
All you need to know about keeping your food safe to eat and what to have on hand in the event of a weather emergency.
updated 5:22 PM EST, Mon February 24, 2014
Schools are proposing a new virtual solution to snow days.
updated 9:44 AM EST, Tue February 11, 2014
The horror stories have been stacking up all winter: Students trapped inside school buses, or nestling in for a surprise slumber party in the school gym.
updated 4:53 AM EST, Wed February 12, 2014
The dire warnings have been heeded. The pantries stocked. The cars parked.
updated 10:41 AM EST, Mon February 11, 2013
Mobile devices have changed how we handle severe weather.
updated 12:37 PM EST, Wed January 29, 2014
Smartphones are not built for the extreme cold.
updated 5:57 AM EST, Sat February 9, 2013
In our increasingly digital world, a mobile phone or other portable device is often a one-stop communication device.
updated 10:54 AM EST, Fri January 31, 2014
Ever wonder about the tiny flakes that make up a blanket of snow?
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT