After the world's most famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil signaled that we can all brace ourselves for another six weeks of winter, his prophecy comes true as the latest snowstorms pummel the Northeastern region of the U.S. Just weeks after many states experienced record-setting blizzards and snowfalls, meteorologists are predicting even more winter storms on the horizon. Along with the frigid conditions will come many cancellations and delays for flights leaving and entering these impacted cities.
More delays and cancellations
According to USA Today, the airline tracking website FlightAware tallied more than 1,800 flight cancellations due to severe winter weather on Feb. 9, 2015. The significant majority of these airports are located on the Northeastern U.S. coastline, and the storms are affecting both international and domestic flights. Two of the major airports in New York City, John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, are enduring the bulk of the conditions, as the JFK is experiencing an average flight delay of 3.5 hours while LaGuardia's delays average six hours and 45 minutes. This is primarily due to the extra .6 metres of snow expected to fall in both New York and eastern Massachusetts.
These storms are only adding to the recent trend of poor flying conditions, as The Wall Street Journal reported that more than 6,800 U.S. flights were cancelled across the country last week. The biggest factor for flight delays and cancellations so far this year has been credited to Winter Storm Juno, in which The Weather Channel projected that more than 28 million people were under severe blizzard warnings. The current storm hitting the Northeastern shorelines of the country is being labelled as Winter Storm Marcus, and just like its predecessor Juno, passengers can expect to deal with more airport stress for the next week or two.
The Weather Channel meteorologist Chris Dolce says that for many American East Coasters, especially within the Massachusetts area, the snow isn't going anywhere any time soon.
"Winter Storm Marcus is piling on to what has already been a very snowy two weeks in New England," Dolce told The Weather Channel. "Widespread snow totals of more than a foot are expected, with some areas in Massachusetts picking up around 20 inches. The snow isn't going to melt anytime soon either, since the coldest air of the season is expected late in the week ahead."
Tips for winter air travel
If you're planning on travelling within this region soon, it's important to begin adequately preparing yourself for the likely cancellations and delays. Keep up to date with the latest airport reports by downloading apps such as FlightTrack 5, which provide you with instant airline updates in real time right to your smartphone. Arrive at the airport as early as possible, because if your specific flight is delayed, you may be able to connect to a different flight instead. You also may want to consider adding travel insurance to your plane ticket purchases, so you will be financially compensated for any flight or hotel cancellations. Last but not least, be sure to bring plenty of entertainment to keep you occupied during any long periods of waiting.