Christmas travel across the East Coast and Texas faces significant disruptions as the holiday season approaches due to two major storm systems. These storms are expected to impact over 20 states, potentially affecting millions with rain, snow, and gusty winds.
Christmas Travel Plans at Risk Due to Merging Storms in the US
The East Coast is gearing up for a challenging weekend as the merging storm systems approach, threatening Christmas travel plans. Cities such as Boston, New York, Washington, and Philadelphia are preparing for up to three inches of rain, which could hamper holiday movements.
Meanwhile, Texas is bracing for a rare combination of rain and snow, adding to the travel woes. This unusual weather is anticipated as a low-pressure storm moves towards Florida. According to FOX Weather Meteorologist Jane Minar, merging the two systems could result in a significantly stronger storm, escalating concerns for those planning Christmas travel.
The Daily Mail reported that the timing of the storms is particularly worrying for New York, where heavy impacts are expected on Sunday and Monday. These days are crucial for Christmas travel, leading up to the final full week before the holiday.
The Interstate 95 highway, a major travel route, is expected to experience extensive rainfall. Craig Herrera, a FOX Weather Meteorologist, emphasizes that the rain could stretch from Florida all the way to New England. This weather pattern will likely cause significant delays and disruptions on roads and airports beginning Saturday morning.
Britta Merwin, another FOX Weather Meteorologist, highlights the I-95 corridor's usual traffic density, which is expected to increase due to the holiday rush. Coupled with adverse weather conditions, this could lead to challenging Christmas travel scenarios. Rain and strong winds might also result in operational delays and cancellations at airports.
Travelers are encouraged to stay updated on the weather forecasts and adjust their plans to navigate these challenges and ensure safe and smooth Christmas travel.
U.S. Airlines Ready for Busy Christmas Travel Season
Meanwhile, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines, three of the biggest airlines in the United States, are preparing for a busy Christmas travel season. They aim to repeat the smooth experience of this past Thanksgiving, which saw very few flight cancellations.
American Airlines, the largest U.S. carrier, expects its busiest day on Friday, Dec. 22, during a 19-day Christmas travel starting Dec. 20. The airline plans to carry 12.7 million passengers. "The 2023 holiday period is longer than previous years, reflecting the changing travel habits of our customers and school schedules in many of American's hub markets," the airline said, according to CNN.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicts the busiest air traffic day will be the Thursday before Christmas, with 48,959 flights. Delta Air Lines expects a busy stretch, too, with about 9 million travelers. Delta spokesperson Morgan Durant noted a "seven-way tie" for their busiest days, including Dec. 21, 22, and Dec. 26-30.
Over Thanksgiving, U.S. airlines canceled fewer than 1% of flights, helped by good weather. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg noted that weather is always a key factor.
United Airlines expects to fly around 9 million people, 12% more than last year. The airline is confident about handling the Christmas travel season, building on its Thanksgiving success.
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