8 pics of the polar vortex causing widespread flight delays

2014-01-08 09:16
New York - North America is being gripped by -40 degree Celsius temperatures, crippling key international airports and forcing a state of emergency in New York.



Among major carriers, Southwest had canceled 309 flights on Tuesday and JetBlue had 216 cancellations, according to FlightAware.com. United Continental had 117 halted flights, and American Airlines and its American Eagle unit had 500 cancellations combined.


At Chicago O'Hare, American put its fueling pumper and tanker trucks in a hangar to keep them from freezing, spokesperson Mary Frances Fagan said. Fueling was "slow but consistent," Fagan said in an email.


United was operating a reduced schedule at O'Hare because of continued effects of cold weather, spokeswoman Mary Clark noted.


Dan Baker, chief executive at FlightAware, said the current spate of cancellations tied to winter weather was not the worst airlines have seen compared with other storms in recent years.


"We're seeing only about 3 000 flights canceled a day; we've certainly seen 5 000 and above that (with other storms)," Baker said. "The reason this (current situation) is really impactful is it's tied with extreme temperatures that are so unusual." The record-breaking freeze is said to be caused by a wavy and elongated jet stream, which is carrying Arctic air far more to the south than normal.


Britain’s high waves are said to be loosely connected to the weather system that is causing the US winter storm.


The cold weather has even been causing what is known as frost quakes in Canada. The phenomenon is caused when a sharp temperature drop causes warm water saturated in the ground to suddenly freeze, resulting in an explosion so loud it causes a frost quake or cryoseisms. These explosions are reportedly not dangerous.

Read more on:    us  |  canada  |  new york  |  flights  |  travel international  |  weather


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