Icy East Getting Back to Business
Much of the East Coast struggled through ice and snow to return to work Monday, as airlines scrambled to reset a heavy holiday schedule disrupted by thousands of weekend flight snags.
In New York, passengers tried to re-book travel after the storm forced the cancellation of 2,000 flights at three area airports, says Steve Coleman, spokesman for The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
At two Washington, D.C.-area airports, 1,000 people woke up in terminals Monday. Some waited hours more in lines to get onto flights with few empty seats.
"It could take a few days," Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokeswoman Courtney Mickalonis says of clearing the backlog of passengers.
Meanwhile, a new storm could drop more than a foot of snow in the Midwest before bringing freezing rain to the Northeast on Christmas Eve, says National Weather Service spokesman Chris Vaccaro. "Another one is coming," he says, even as the last storm's impact is still being felt.
Philadelphia, blanketed in 23.2 inches of snow, was among the hardest-hit airports. Spokesman Mark Pesce says 2,050 weekend passengers were stranded.
Airport employees distributed blankets, pillows, snacks and water to all, including Sunday's 750 sleepover "guests," he says. They woke up in the terminal Monday to the news that all four runways were back in business.
The storm caused at least six deaths in the region,, including a snowmobiler who crashed into a horse-drawn buggy in Pennsylvania's Amish country, the Associated Press reported.
On Monday, the sun pushed temperatures above freezing, yet icy roads made travel treacherous. The commuter rush was tempered by a wave of school cancellations and business closures, including federal agencies.
For thousands of travelers, though, Monday marked another lost day in a marathon to get home for the holidays.
Eric Diaz, 20, planned to spend a second night at an airport, moving from Reagan National to Washington Dulles International to catch a flight home today to Monterrey, Mexico. "We did get to see some snow," he says. "We don't get a lot of that in Mexico."