U.S. roads and airports BRACE for major Thanksgiving travel chaos as severe weather causes traffic and flight delays
The United States is bracing for major travel chaos this Thanksgiving weekend as severe weather causes thousands of flight delays for the tens of millions of Americans who plan to fly home for the holidays.
A massive storm affecting parts of the Midwest has already caused more than 3,600 flights within, into and out of the U.S. passing through these regions to be delayed, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, as rains and strong winds prevent flights from taking off. Another 60 domestic flights have been outright canceled due to the weather.
These storm systems are expected to move from the Midwest and into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, causing more issues not just in the air but also for people traveling by road to their families.
While most people will only see rain in the East Coast, some snow and ice will end up breaking through in the Northeast. (Related: Americans can expect a very different winter this year thanks to El Niño.)
In parts of the American South, heavy rain and severe thunderstorms are moving across parts of the Southeast, with cities like Montgomery and Mobile in Alabama and Pensacola in Florida at severe risk of being affected by damaging winds. Isolated tornadoes in these areas also can’t be ruled out.
Despite tumultuous weather, Thanksgiving travel still expected to break records
Despite the severe storm systems moving through much of the U.S., more than 55 million people are still expected to travel long distances before Thursday, Nov. 23.
Airline industry organization Airlines for America forecast that U.S. airlines will be carrying some 29.9 million passengers between Nov. 17 and Nov. 27. This would be an all-time high of more than nine percent over the 27.5 million people recorded taking flights during the same period in 2022, and up by 1.7 million passengers over pre-2020 record levels.
Even automobile trade group AAA has some positive news for travelers, with the organization pointing out that most of those traveling will be using their personal vehicles. Between Nov. 22 and Nov. 26, around 49 million Americans are expected to get behind the wheel, up 1.7 percent from the corresponding period in 2022. Wednesday is expected to be the busiest day on the roads for Thanksgiving travelers.
This new air and road travel data from both trade groups are the biggest signs that the number of Americans traveling around the holidays has rebounded in full force since the pandemic stymied the travel industry’s growth in 2020.
At Los Angeles International Airport, over 2.5 million passengers are expected to travel around the U.S. during the Thanksgiving travel period, or 92 percent of its record-setting year of 2019. This near-record travel level is expected despite more than 70 delays already being recorded.
“It’s really hard traveling with a baby for Thanksgiving,” lamented Ariannah Todd, who was flying out of Los Angeles to San Francisco with her husband and their nine-month-old baby. “I wouldn’t recommend it, but we’re really excited to go see our family.”
Watch this video from “Climate Viewer” discussing the latest developments in weather control and how this may be affecting flights in the United States.
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