Monday, December 27, 2010

Airports Cancel Hundreds of Flights as New York Weather Forecast Calls for Blizzard in Northeast

Update 10:25pm: Governor Chris Christie declares New Jersey a state of emergency.

Update 10:13pm: Amtrak cancels trains between New York and Boston.

Update 6:50pm: Blizzard conditions are expected until at least 6pm Monday morning. As much as 20 inches of snow are expected and almost 1,500 flights have been canceled. Officials warn all to stay home and not travel.

While we are lucky enough to have spent Christmas at home, there are thousands of people scheduled to make those return holiday flights that will soon be stranded due to a an expected blizzard in the northeast. Already airlines have grounded hundreds of flights today at major airports including New York’s JFK and LaGuardia, Newark, Philadelphia, Boston and other airports. AirTran and Southwest Airlines also canceled flights, mostly in or out of Washington Dulles, Baltimore and Newark. All airlines expect to cancel hundreds more as the storm takes off. The snowflakes are just starting to come down here in New York but already Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina were declared states of emergency earlier this morning.

The timing could not be worse for all those families traveling home after Christmas. The question of whether to stay at the relatives another day or two, or brave the airports with kids is not one to be taken lightly. Many parents have to get home to go to work so for them there is no debate.

For those who are heading home through the storm, with no control over Mother Nature, they may just have to make the best of a tough situation. The key is to plan ahead for long waits at the airport, and if possible at all, load up on patience (which understandably may be low in reserves after the holidays). The calmer the parents remain, the more unruffled the children will feel in most cases. A few prayers can’t hurt either.

For those of us already at home, many are excited. As if the anticipation of Christmas morning hasn’t made us old folk feel child-like enough this week, there is nothing like a good old-fashioned snowstorm to bring out the kids in all of us. My kids are giddy and so is our new puppy who will see her first snowstorm. It hasn’t snowed here since last winter so now’s the time to bring out the snowpants and boots to get those snowmen built and snow angels sketched out.

First stop however, will be Lowe’s because with all the holiday shopping, we neglected stocking up on winter supplies. But then we’ll be home to tackle the shoveling and referee the snowball fights.

When I started writing this, the first few flakes started to fall, and now there is a definite covering of the entire backyard. I have the feeling this snowstorm may be an all week event.

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