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Christmas flights snarled by new winter storm

8:28 AM, Dec 26, 2012   |    comments
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A major winter storm threatens to disrupt flights today (Wednesday) for thousands fliers headed home from the Christmas holiday.

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More than a dozen major airports lie in the path of the storm, which stretched from the Midwest to the East Coast as of 8 a.m. ET this morning.

Blizzard warnings covered areas surrounding the Cleveland and Indianapolis airports, while windy wintry weather a number of others at a significant risk of delay. Among those: Detroit, Cincinnati, Columbus (Ohio), Pittsburgh and Buffalo.

Already, Cleveland's Fox 8 News reported that United "had already cancelled 60% of its flights beginning at noon on Wednesday." Cleveland is a hub for United, meaning that problemsN there are all but certain to ripple out and affect other airports in the carrier's route network.

Elsewhere, the storm also is expected to affect airports all along the East Coast. Wintry precipitation and poor visibility are forecast for the already delay-prone airports in Philadelphia and the New York City area. Strong winds could also create sporadic delays at other big airports in the East - including the world's busiest airport in Atlanta.

Charlotte, for example, suffered 30-minute wind-related delays earlier this morning, though conditions there had gone back to normal as of 8:05 a.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration's flight delay map.

The three big airports in the Washington/Baltimore area should escape most of weather-related problems that are expected elsewhere in the region, though delays and cancellations at other airports will affect at least a handful of today's flights at Washington Dulles, Washington National and Baltimore/Washington (BWI) airports.

And, as of 8 a.m. ET, congestion from busy post-holiday flight schedules is creating "volume" delays of about 30 minutes on some flights at BWI.

By this evening, the effects of the storm - notably strong winds - will extend into New England, adding Boston, Hartford and Providence to the list of airports where fliers could run into weather-related problems.

USA Today

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