More than 1,600 flights within, into or out of the United States were already canceled by 12:15 p.m. ET Sunday, according to flight tracking website FlightAware. And delays of flights still able to takeoff numbered almost 3,200. Christmas Day is traditionally a light day for passenger flights.
Demonstrating the sheer size and impact of the storm, it was an airport in the Deep South that felt the hardest hit by noon Christmas Day. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL) — the world’s busiest airport for passengers — saw the most cancellation and delays.
No. 2 was more than 1,000 miles away out in the Rocky Mountains with Denver International.
In hard-hit western New York, things were still too rough for humor.
The temperature at BUF at 12:15 p.m. ET was 20°F (-7°C) with blowing snow and wind speeds of 40 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
A rough week for flying
A pair of travelers sleep while others line up to pass through a security checkpoint in Denver International Airport on Friday.
The massive storm’s arrival was ill-timed for travelers who had started pushing Christmas week flying numbers back toward pre-pandemic levels.
On Christmas Eve, there were a total of 3,487 flights canceled, according to FlightAware. Friday was the worst day with 5,934 cancellations, while Thursday saw almost 2,700 cancellations.
This megablast of winter weather across the eastern two-thirds of the nation is forecast to slowly moderate into Monday. As of 12:15 p.m. ET, there were just 153 preemptive cancellations for Monday.
Bus and train service
CNN’s Danielle Wiener-Bronner and Rebekah Riess contributed to this report.