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More flight delays expected as rains move across East Coast

By Dana Forsythe
More snow and rain is expected Tuesday as thousands of holiday travelers return home. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
More snow and rain is expected Tuesday as thousands of holiday travelers return home. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Twenty-four hours after snow hit parts of Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas and Colorado, causing hundreds of cancellations and delays, air traffic is slowly starting normalize in places on the West Coast and New York's La Guardia Airport.

However, clear skies are expected to be short lived. After Southwest cancelled hundreds of flights out of their home base of Midway Airport in Chicago on Saturday and the delays are still being felt today due to an influx of fog and rain is set to engulf the East Coast.

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As a result of dense fog that began in Chicago on Saturday and continued into Sunday, Southwest Airlines representative Chris Mainz said the airline canceled approximately 100 flights on Monday and 300 flights for Sunday systemwide (out of approximately 4300 total flights).

As of Tuesday morning, Mainz said the Airlines' operation was currently healthy and stable and they do not anticipate any significant disruptions for the day.

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"We continue to have all-hands on deck as our employees work to safely take care of our customers during this busy holiday travel season," he said. "Specific to Chicago, Midway is our fourth busiest airport operation, with more than 200 departures a day scheduled over the holiday weekend. We are now operating a normal schedule at Chicago Midway and across our network.

"We are fully staffed and all gates are open and fully operating with no additional challenges expected," he said.

Following Christmas, tens of thousands of travelers are expected to pass through the nation's busiest airports today and tomorrow as they return home. Very little precipitation is expected across the West Coast, but the dropping temperatures are expected to produce more snow across the Dakotas and Nebraska. According to Weather.com, the skies are expected to clear up above New York and Chicago, but rain and sleet is starting to gather in Atlanta, which is starting to cause a large amount of delays out of Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.

Between Tuesday and Wednesday, roughly 170,000 people are expected to pass through Philadelphia International Airport, according to PHL spokesperson, Heather Redfern.

"People have already celebrated the holiday, they want to go on vacation, kids are off from school, businesses might be closed," she told ABC6. "Pack your patience. You have people who don't fly a lot during the year. This is the big time of year where a lot of non-regular flyers are. Just be more patient of people that have kids with them and everybody will get where they need to go."

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As of Tuesday morning, according to FlightAware, there were 261 delays and two cancellations across the nation's airports, with Atlanta topping the list at 41, followed by Chicago's O'Hare Airport with 22. Over the next 24 hours, a batch of snow is set to appear across the Midwest and move towards Chicago. Meanwhile, heavy rains are set to encompass most of the East Coast while drifting north, which could impact traffic in and out of Philadelphia International Airport.

On Christmas Day, 3-6 inches of snow accumulated across some of the highest terrain of Utah and Wyoming, with 6-12 inches of snow reported across some of the highest terrain of Colorado and New Mexico.

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