Storm causes holiday travel troubles

PHILADELPHIA - December 21, 2012

A major storm on the first day of winter was the last thing holiday travelers wanted.

Severe winter weather crippled travel across the country and could have a ripple effect that could be felt in Philadelphia.

One million more people are expected on the roads this year.

The good news is the system is recovering and cancellations are down to just a tenth of what they were at the peak. Fortunately, Thursday's storm did not affect Philadelphia for more than a day.

Flyers boarding at Philadelphia International Airport had different takes on the crowds on Friday night.

"There is a little bit of traffic, not really that much," said Chelsea Candeub.

"It took us twice the time it normally does to get to the airport so we were prepared," said Tabitha McKinley.

The McKinley's left four hours before their flight.

Almost on cue, Thursday's Midwestern snowstorm snarled many plans causing more than 1,000 flight delays and a ripple effect from LAX to Philly.

"We'll be happy when we get there," said Mary Cresseveur.

The storm delayed the flight taking Mary Cresseveur and her nine relatives to Florida for a family cruise.

"There are 10 of us going," she said. "It is going to be one epic cruise, one epic vacation."

By Friday afternoon, many of the arrival and departure screens were clear of cancellations; a big difference from Thursday night when the Midwest storm caused more than 1,000 cancellations during the busiest travel time of the year.

Most of the canceled flights were at both of Chicago's airports.

Milwaukee bound Joseph Horowitz had no problems getting out. Most of the cancellations and delays were gone by Friday afternoon.

"I got lucky," said Horowitz. "I have a lot of friends stuck at Laguardia."

According to AAA, holiday travelers like the McKinley's join 93.3 million Americans this holiday season.

Friday night crowds were light at 30th Station, but Amtrak does expect an increase.

Traffic was snarled on the Northeast Extension in the Lehigh Valley Friday night between Allentown and the Poconos. Both lanes were shut down for a time adding to the holiday travel delays.

PennDOT announced an increase of troopers on interstates through this busy time.


"We'll be happy when we get there," said Mary Cresseveur.
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