Some 5,000 flights are expected to be cancelled and 2,000 delayed on Thursday in the US, due to massive winter storm Landon hitting the midwest and southern states, according to FlightAware.
More than 10,000 flights were cancelled or delayed on Wednesday, and a further 850 flights are expected to be stopped on Friday, due to extreme weather conditions disrupting areas across three time zones.
The 2,000-mile wide storm has already dumped a foot of snow, with 11 inches of snow recorded in places including Midway Airport in Chicago.
Forecasters warned of dangerous snow and ice forming overnight, and have said the worse is yet to come in some places. “A large, prolonged and significant winter storm will continue to impact much of the central US and move into the Northeast overnight, bringing a variety of winter weather hazards including heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain,” the National Weather Service said on Wednesday night.
Areas affected by snow will include Lake Placid to Chicago and Denver down to Albuquerque, while those affected by ice will include Portland, Maine, Buffalo, Pittsburg, Memphis and Dallas, plus areas in-between, report AccuWeather meteorologists.
“The storm is a marathon, not a sprint,” AccuWeather meteorologist Justin Povick said on Storm Landon, which is predicted to last 48 hours. Experts are telling people in these areas to be prepared for sporadic power outages and stay safe and off roads where possible. Schools and government buildings in certain states have already been closed.
“The approaching storm front is forecast to be one of the most dangerous events in our recent history of record-breaking disasters, due to the possibilities of heavy icing accumulations,” said Michael Dossett, the director of Kentucky Emergency Management told the New York Times.
Currently, the airports most affected include Dallas Love Field, which has 84 per cent of its flights cancelled, John Glenn Columbus Intl Airport, which has 78 per cent of its flights cancelled and Austin-Bergstrom Intl, which has 74 per cent of its flights cancelled, according to FightAware.
Southwest Airlines has cancelled more than 27 per cent of its flights, American Airlines has 19 per cent of its flights cancelled, Envoy Air has 50 per cent of its flights cancelled and Republic has 29 per cent of its flight cancelled today. Those travelling should check the status of their flights as early as possible.
State officials have put plans in place to help deal with the adverse weather conditions. Missouri Governor Mike Parson has signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in light of the storm. “Severe winter weather isn’t something we are strangers to here in the State of Missouri, but we must be prepared for the worst,” Governor Parson said in a statement on 1 February. “By signing this Order, we enable our emergency management professionals to have every tool and resource available to aid Missourians, protect lives, and respond to this winter storm. We encourage all Missourians to be vigilant and take precautions to avoid hazardous road conditions and keep themselves and their families safe.”`
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear also declared a state of emergency on Wednesday. “Freezing roadways are extremely dangerous,” said Mr Beshear said in a press release. “I am closing all state office buildings and asking Kentuckians to stay off the roadways if possible, so crews can continue ploughing and clearing roads.”
To combat blizzard conditions in Illinois, Governor J B Pritzker issued a disaster declaration and has enlisted 130 members of the National Guard to deal with the effect of heavy snow.