Starting with the week of Thanksgiving and going through the end of the holiday season, after the new year, is the busiest travel time of the year. People are going back and forth for the holidays and airports are packed as everyone runs around to catch flights. The biggest issue in some areas of the country, however, is not the foot traffic and chaos. Rather, the biggest issue for some cities is weather. In snowier and/or colder climate places, severe weather that causes alerts oftentimes negatively affects traffic. We are already starting to see this risk being run in some areas of the country as snowfall worsens.
This past weekend, as the weekend following the Thanksgiving holiday, Midwestern states felt the wrath of weather affecting their travelers. It is estimated that nearly 14 million people were affected by various winter weather warnings on Sunday.
A snowstorm traveled over the Rocky Mountains and Central Plains.
The affected areas included the state of Michigan, as well as neighboring midwestern states and Great Lakes surrounding areas. The warnings went as far south as Kansas, where they saw nearly a foot of snow in some parts of the state. The National Weather Service advised that the “gusty winds and heavy snow will increase hazardous travel conditions.” With this statement, official warnings and alerts were issued, delaying many travel plans.
The warnings did not only affect flights, as drivers received their own warnings as well.
The weather service in Wichita, Kansas were warned of the danger levels from the snow and ice layers on the roads. Drivers were highly suggested to reduce their speed and to plan their trips accordingly in order to practice better driver safety amidst the severe weather, if they had to drive still. Primarily, drivers were warned to simply avoid driving as much as possible. One city in Kansas reported several vehicles that were in accidents in which they slid off roadways on Saturday alone as a result of the harsh weather.
Parts of Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and Colorado were affected as well, receiving several inches of snow. The snow levels in Colorado were so high that in some parts of the state they received over two feet of snow.
As the busy travel season continues, be sure to check for weather delays as you set off for another location. A flight can be affected by weather in any place, even if the take-off and landing locations are clear. Be sure to drive cautiously as winter weather continues.