Latest updates on the impact of winter storms during the holiday travel season

As travelers prepare to visit family and friends during the holiday travel season, Winter Storm Elliott is forecast to affect flight service and roadways across the United States.

Add another storm affecting travel in the Pacific Northwest, and this holiday season will be full of delays and cancellations during one of the busiest times of the year.

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The winter storm tracks east toward the Plains, Midwest, and Great Lakes, where it will produce snow and strong winds, including blizzard conditions, as it potentially develops into a bomb cyclone. Elliott will also bring strong winds and possible frost to areas of the Midwest, East and South.

Current trend

woods in winter snow forest

AAA Travel data predicted 112.7 million people would travel 50 miles or more away from home from Dec. 23 to Jan. 2, an increase of 3.6 million people compared to last year. The survey also found that 102 million Americans will drive to their destinations, an increase of more than two million people on the roads.

Air travel will see a 14 percent increase over last year, with nearly 7.2 million Americans expected to fly during the winter holiday season. AAA expects the number of people who will fly this year to be nearly identical to 2019’s totals, when 7.3 million Americans traveled by air.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the Thursday before Christmas is expected to be the busiest travel day of the week, with 47,554 scheduled flights. Friday has more than 44,300 flights scheduled.

Ahead of the storm, many airlines began issuing travel waivers, allowing passengers to reschedule their flights without a change fee. AccuWeather experts believe that up to 5,000 flights could be delayed or canceled.

Major US carriers — including American, Delta, Southwest and United — have issued travel advisories for the Pacific Northwest, Mountain Northwest, Atlantic, Northeast, Midwest and Central Plains regions.

Several major cities are affected by the storm waivers, including Baltimore, Boise, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Seattle, Washington and others.


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