US holiday season flights maybe impacted by fog, rain

Published on : Monday, December 21, 2015

us  fog, rainLast Christmas was ruined by them but no major blizzards have been forecast to snarl U.S. airline flights this time round.

Snow is not in the forecast report at most major airports as unprecedented warm weather was forecast for much of the USA ahead of the Christmas holiday Friday. Temperatures in the 60s (15C) and 70s (21C) await travellers connecting through Atlanta, New York and Washington this week. Even Chicago could see temperatures hit 60 by midweek.

Christmas rush began in earnest this past Friday (Dec. 18). Airline trade group Airlines for America projected more than 38 million passengers would fly U.S. airlines during the 17-day period between then through Sunday, Jan. 3.

This week, Wednesday is forecast to be one of the busiest travel days of the season. Demand at most airports dips significantly on Christmas Eve (Thursday) and Christmas before spiking again in the run-up to New Year’s.

However, instead of snow, fliers should be on the lookout for fog, rain or even thunderstorms. Those problems, though, are likely to be localized, based on current forecasts. But it’s always a good idea to keep tabs on the weather ahead of your flight, especially during the holiday week.

East Coast
Fliers travelling through New York JFK, Newark Liberty, New York LaGuardia – the region’s four chronically delay prone airports – should be on the alert for weather delays. Rainy weather and poor visibility are forecast from Tuesday through Thursday. Such conditions frequently delay flights at all four airports.

Elsewhere, fog could crop up across the region as near-record warmth remains in place until Christmas Day. Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington and Boston will be among the many cities witnessing unusual warmth. Early forecasts call for the possibility of fog on Tuesday morning for Atlanta (a major hub for Delta) and Charlotte (a major hub for American).
Thunderstorms could be a nuisance mid- to weekend for cities like Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami and Washington, but no widespread issues are expected.

West Coast
Storms are expected to move in off the Pacific this week, but none look likely to bring significant problems to West Coast airports. Only exception will be San Francisco, where rainy or cloudy weather can lead to long backups. San Francisco is a major hub for both United and Virgin America.

Windy and rainy weather are forecast for both Seattle and Portland, Ore. and major flight back-ups don’t appear likely.

No major problems look likely in this region through Christmas. Some light snow may move through Salt Lake City (a hub for Delta) but no significant problems based on current forecasts are expected.

Midwest and central USA
Even Chicago catches a break. The city’s O’Hare and Midway airports have had more than their share of flights snarled by Christmastime storms in recent years. This season, however, the Windy City will briefly soar to near 60 on Wednesday and above-freezing temperatures are expected to last until after Christmas. Meanwhile, rainy and windy weather could cause some sporadic delays at O’Hare on Monday and Wednesday.

Elsewhere, none of the region’s other major hubs are expected to see weather that may have a widespread impact on flights.

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