More than 2,200 flights within, into or out of the United States had already been canceled by 5:30 p.m. ET Sunday, according to flight tracking website FlightAware. And delays on planes that could still take off were almost 5,800. Christmas Day is traditionally an easy day for passenger planes.
To demonstrate the size and impact of the storm, an airport in the Deep South was most affected on Christmas Day. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL) – the world’s busiest airport for passengers – saw the most cancellations and delays.
No. 2 was more than 1,000 miles away in the Rocky Mountains with Denver International.
However, the effects of the storm in parts of the West are diminishing. The temperature at 3:30 PM MT at Denver International was already well above freezing at 46 °F (8 °C).
In hard-hit Western New York, things were still too rough for humor.
The temperature at BUF at 3 p.m. ET was 20°F (-7°C) with wind speeds of 24 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
A tough week for flying
A couple of travelers sleep while others line up to pass through a security checkpoint at Denver International Airport on Friday.
The massive storm’s arrival was ill-timed for travelers who had begun pushing the Christmas week flying numbers back towards pre-pandemic levels.
On Christmas Eve, a total of 3,487 flights were cancelled, 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 the final week of the year. As of 5:30 PM ET, there were still more than 260 preemptive cancellations for Monday.
Bus and train offers
CNN’s Danielle Wiener-Bronner and Rebekah Riess contributed to this report.