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Tue, Dec 23, 2008

The Weather Outside? Frightful

Winter Storms Pound US, Snag Flights

From ice storms in the Pacific Northwest, to blizzard conditions over the Upper Midwest and the usual winter mix in the Northeast... it looks to be a truly lousy holiday travel season throughout much of the United States.

Portland International Airport (PDX) saw heavy flight cancellations throughout Sunday and Monday, as icy runways snagged operations at that airport and at Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA), 112 nautical miles north. Alaska Airlines and its Horizon subsidiary only flew about 1/3 their usual Monday schedules from both airports, reports The Seattle Times, but expected to have things largely sorted out by Tuesday.

Residents of Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN are more accustomed to such conditions... but that came as little comfort to Bill Blaegen, who was stranded at MSP when his flight to Seattle was cancelled.

"The problem is that Minnesota can handle the weather, so our airport is running fine, but Seattle, they get two inches of snow and the place shuts down," Blaegen told KMSP-9.

Actually, some areas of Seattle saw close to 14" of snow... and the ripple effect from the wintry blast over Oregon and Washington -- as well as a line of snowstorms over eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, and a developing system over Arizona and New Mexico -- have conspired to delay numerous flights throughout the country over the past 72 hours, throwing a wrench in the travel plans of many holiday fliers.

Even those areas not seeing wintry precipitation are dealing with record low temperatures, and high winds.

If there's some good news to be had from this mess, it's that airlines across the country have waived rebooking charges for passengers stranded by storms. So, there's that...

FMI: www.fly.faa.gov

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