THOUSANDS of people have been left stranded after airports all over the country canceled their flights as a major snowbomb threatens to pummel parts of the East Coast.
More than 2,100 flights scheduled on Thursday and Friday have already been canceled as a result of bad weather conditions pelting the country.
Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and regional carrier SkyWest Airlines appear to be the hardest-hit airlines, according to the site FlightAware.
Southwest had canceled nearly 650 flights or about 21 percent of their scheduled departures, according to FlightAware.
Spokesperson Dan Landson said the airline continues to be “challenged” by the weather but says there’s been an “uptick” in Covid sick calls as infections spike.
The airline has since extended holiday bonus pay for flight attendants until January 25 amid staffing shortages, according to USA Today.
Meanwhile, United canceled 236 – 11 percent – of its flights, while SkyWest canceled 264.
As of Friday morning, airlines across the country already canceled over 1,600 flights and counting.
More than 85 percent of scheduled departures were canceled at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia.
The heavy snow has prompted more than a dozen Friday morning flights to Boston, New Jersey, and New York from Indianapolis to be canceled.
And, more than 240 flights in and out of Nashville International Airport, while another 57 were delayed, according to FlightAware data cited by The Nashville Tennessean.
Airlines have been hit with weather chaos, Covid, and staff shortages in recent weeks.
Delta’s executive vice president Allison Ausband said the airline this week sent a letter to customers apologizing for disruptions due to weather and Covid-19.
The last few weeks have been “one of the most difficult operational environments [it has] ever faced.”
“We know you expect the best from Delta — and you should, and I want to apologize to everyone whose travel plans have been impacted,” Ausband wrote.
Canceling a flight is always Delta’s last resort. It’s not only difficult on you, but it’s also hard on our people, who truly want nothing more than to take care of you — especially over the holidays.”
Bosses at the National Weather Service issued several weather advisories across the states of West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, New York, and New Jersey. Many came into force on Thursday night.
AccuWeather senior meteorologist Joe Lundberg said the storm moving towards the East will likely develop into the first bomb cyclone of 2022.
A bomb cyclone is a storm where central pressure plummets 24 millibars in 24 hours.
Temperatures plunged to a bitter 20F in Louisville, Kentucky on Thursday.
By early Friday, snowfall is expected in Washington DC but the white stuff could also be seen in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston.
Forecasters at AccuWeather warn that New York could see up to six inches of snow on Friday.
The storm is expected to be fast-moving, so estimates for snow totals are subject to change over the next day.
However, forecasters are currently estimating that 2 to 4 inches of snow will fall along the track of the storm. At some higher elevations, there may be up to six inches.
The storm is expected to move off the coast of New England by Friday afternoon.
AccuWeather’s chief video meteorologist Bernie Rayno said: “The farther north you go, the bigger the snow accumulations.”
The warning comes just days after a snowbomb battered parts of the country earlier this week.
Up to 75 vehicles were caught up in a pile-up due to icy conditions in Kentucky.
The arctic blast shut down portions of Interstate 75, the Western Kentucky Parkway, and Interstate 71 by Thursday afternoon.
The snowy conditions caused more than 75 accidents in the Fayette County area alone.
Governor Andy Beshear has warned residents to stay off the roads on Friday.
He said: “All roadway surfaces will freeze. They are and will be extremely dangerous.
“I am closing all state office buildings with a public warning to stay off the roadways so roadway crews can continue plowing and clearing roads.”
In Tennesee, heavy snowfall caused a three-vehicle crash that left five injured after a fire truck and bus collided.
On Wednesday, heavy snowfall in Michigan sparked several vehicle pile-ups, leaving several injured.
A major freeway in New York saw over 20 cars piled up, causing delays at LaGuardia Airport.
At one point, cops were dealing with 15 separate incidents across the Hutchinson River, Cross County, and Bronx River Parkways.
Drivers were left stranded for more than 15 hours as temperatures plunged to 13F in parts of Virginia on Monday night.
Motorists were forced to turn off their engines to save fuel, while some had little food and water, according to WTOP.
Fredericksburg saw around 14 inches of snow, while around 12 inches of the white stuff fell in Chancellorsville, according to the NWS.