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A “bomb cyclone” that threatened to turn holiday travel into a nightmare earlier this week began to live up to that threat on Thursday, December 22, when more than 2,400 flights in the US were canceled
CNN reported late Thursday that system conditions dubbed Winter Storm Elliott disrupted air travel, train and bus services. In addition to the already canceled flights, another 2,200 were preventively canceled for Friday and more than 100 for Saturday.
Flight delays were even worse — 9,300 had been reported by 9 p.m. ET on Thursday. Denver and Chicago were the hardest hit. From CNN:
Delays averaging 159 minutes — nearly three hours — at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Thursday were caused by snow and ice, according to a Federal Aviation Administration report.
Temperatures at the O’Hare dropped to 5 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 degrees Celsius) around 6:45 p.m. local time. Light snow and fog were reported by the National Weather Service.
A tweet from the National Weather Service in Cheyenne, Wyoming illustrated the unusual features of the massive weather system.
The cold front has arrived in Cheyenne and it’s already a record breaker! From 1:05 to 1:35 the temperature dropped from 43 to 3 degrees, a drop of FORTY DEGREES in just 30 minutes! This shatters our previous record of 1 hour temperature drop of 37 degrees, and we’re still dropping! #wywx pic.twitter.com/twQcNgy9qx
— NWS Cheyenne (@NWSCheyenne) December 21, 2022
Cheyenne, according to the tweet, “recorded a FORTY DEGREES drop in just 30 minutes!”
CNN also listed major cities where bus service was disrupted, including Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver and Detroit. Amtrak reportedly began canceling and postponing several Midwest and Northeast routes.
Major northeastern airports like Newark, JFK and LaGuardia prepared for similar delays Thursday evening in anticipation of the storm, with LaGuardia tweeting, “Flight activity at #LaGuardiaAirport may be disrupted later today and Friday by heavy rain and high winds. Travelers, please. please confirm flight status with your airline before going to the airport.”
There will likely be many more cancellations before the storm hits on Christmas Day.