• Be prepared for winter weather

    An airport (IND) in winter.  Credit: @JohnFleckPhoto

    An airport (in this case, Indianapolis) in winter.
    Credit: @JohnFleckPhoto

    Matt Pekarek
    Once again, ’tis the season for gently falling snow, peaceful moonlight, and precious time with our dearest loved ones. However, when the flutter of snowflakes turns to an all-out assault, combined with the cousins of ghastly wind, bracing ice, and freezing cold — it’s also the perfect season for soul-crushing travel delays.

    Having recently passed the two-year mark since Hurricane Sandy blew through the U.S.’s east coast; it’s understandable to think that hurricanes are the undisputed heavyweight cause of travel delays. (19,729 flights cancelled due to Sandy are tough to shake off.)

    But, as recent history shows, widespread winter storms are equally capable of causing disruption and pain. Together, four winter storms within the first eight weeks of 2014 caused more than 61,000 flight cancellations – more than three times the travel havoc that Sandy caused:


    January and February 2014 had people seeing red with weather-related flight cancellations.

    • Jan. 1-8: A higher-than-forecast barrage of snow, coupled with dangerously cold temperatures, bore down on travelers from Chicago to New York. 22,226 cancellations.
    • Jan. 28-30: An unexpected winter storm paralyzes Atlanta and much of the south with a coating of deadly and dangerous ice. 8,575 cancellations.
    • Feb. 1-6: More white stuff is dumped on the Midwest, East Coast, and Canada, with Toronto getting a wallop of 17 inches (43 cm). 10,636 cancellations.
    • Feb. 10-17: A prepared Atlanta gets hit again, along with New England, closing airports in Washington D.C., New York City and Boston. 19,741 cancellations.

    Granted, early 2014 was a particularly brutal time for weather, and there’s no telling which way, how hard or how cold the wind will blow this holiday season. However, there are a few things that you can do to prepare for the unexpected this winter.

    • Stay tuned: Keep on top of the weather as you get closer to your travel date. If an ill wind is blowing, make preliminary plans in case you’re affected. Be prepared, and you’ll be ready for nearly anything. That includes following @CWTAmericas on Twitter for news on airport delays and weather developments.
    • Layer up: Make sure you have enough layers to bundle up in case you’re caught in a cold climate, even if you’re traveling from warm locale to warm destination. Remember to bring a hat!
    • Carry on: Make sure your carry-on has everything you need to survive a prolonged delay or a missed connection. Toiletries, medicine, a change of clothes, and a healthy snack or protein bar. Oh, and all your mobile device chargers. (Did we mention that a small, cheap power strip will help you make friends at the airport? Have one of these during a weather event, and you’ll be legendary.)
    • Charge! Speaking of your mobile device, make sure it’s fully charged before you leave home. Along with that extra emergency battery that you carry with you. You don’t already? You should.

    Keep these tips in mind, keep a (figurative) ear to the ground, and stay safe!