Total Pageviews

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tracking Holiday Travel Delays in Real Time

FlightAware, an online flight tracking service, shows the percentage of delays and cancellations in red on its “MiseryMap” across the country in real time.

Updated 1:12 p.m. Most air travelers were able to avoid major delays Tuesday as a powerful storm moved up the East Coast and into the mid-Atlantic states. But on Wednesday, the busiest travel day of this Thanksgiving holiday week, they may not be so lucky, according to FlightAware’s online, real-time interactive map.

With heavy rain and wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour reported along the East Coast this morning, the storm began affecting airline operations by 7 a.m. in Philadelphia and New York’s three major airports, causing a ripple effect at airports across the country.

More than 150 flights were canceled out of Philadelphia and New York airports on Wednesday, according to FlightAware. But the delays and flight cancellations have not been nearly as bad as many meteorologists had been predicting earlier this week. There was initial concern that the heavy rain and strong winds moving up the East Coast would collide with a storm system, over the Great Lakes, that produced snow in western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and western New York state.

While passengers were scheduled to board 1,300 flights across the country this morning, drivers make up the majority of the 43 million people expected to travel more than 50 miles this holiday week.

On Wednesday morning, motorists found heavy rain had eventually tapered off along the busy Interstate 95 corridor. Snow-covered, icy roads could be found in parts of West Virginia, western and central Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and western New York State, as my colleagues, Emma G. Fitzsimmons and Timothy Williams reported.

Here’s a look at what meteorologists and local airport officials are saying about the weather and holiday travel up and down the East Coast on Wednesday:

In Philadelphia, airport officials on Wednesday have been actively using an official Twitter account, @PHLAirport, to keep travelers updated on conditions.

For motorists in the Philadelphia area, flooding and a deadly crash that killed one person and injured seven others early Wednesday morning on the Schuylkill Expressway, Interstate 76, near the Montgomery Drive exit, snarled traffic for both commuters and holiday travelers.

For the New York City metropolitan area, the National Weather Service’s regional office in Upton, N.Y. issued a flood warning in parts of the area and wind advisory, warning of gusts up to 60 m.p.h.

In New England, the National Weather Service in Boston identified strong winds and heavy rain as the primary threats for travelers on Wednesday. Boston’s Logan Airport reported some delays and the winds brought down power lines, causing power failures in some parts of the Boston area as the storm headed north toward Maine.

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport was reporting no delays early Wednesday.

For the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang blog reported that the rain could turn to light snow later on Wednesday but the rest of the holiday weekend would be dry. And Thanksgiving Day? Cold.

In central Pennsylvania, the National Weather Service issued an ice storm warning with freezing rain coating roads and trees.

A possible tornado touched down late Tuesday night along the North Carolina coast, in the Atlantic Beach area near Morehead City, downing power lines. The Associated Press reported three people were injured when a roof blew off their condominium.

On the other side of North Carolina, snow was falling in the west. And spotted in Atlanta.

In Atlanta, Kathryn Prociv and Heather Hunter, producers for the Weather Channel, noted on Twitter that snow flakes were falling outside the studio early Wednesday morning, a significant weather event for Atlanta.