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Winter storm news and Christmas weather forecast

Crews de-ice a Southwest Airlines plane before takeoff in Omaha, Nebraska, on December 21. (Chris Machian/Omaha World-Herald/AP)

Snow, rain, ice, wind and frigid temperatures are disrupting air travel plans across the country.

Airlines canceled over 2,100 US flights by 3 p.m. ET on Thursday and proactively canceled more than 1,000 flights on Friday, according to the flight-tracking site FlightAware.

Delays were even more extensive, with more than 5,500 on Thursday as of 3 p.m. ET.

The impact is felt hardest in Chicago and Denver, where around a quarter of arrivals and departures – hundreds of flights at each airport – were canceled on Thursday, FlightAware data show.

Travelers wait to check in for their flights at Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport on December 22.
Travelers wait to check in for their flights at Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport on December 22. (Kerem Yücel/Minnesota Public Radio/AP)

At Chicago’s O’Hare, snow and ice is causing delays averaging 159 minutes — almost three hours — according to a notice from the Federal Aviation Administration.   

Temperatures at the airport are nearing freezing as the storm is beginning to settle into the greater Chicago area.

The FAA said departing aircraft at Dallas Love, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver and Minneapolis airports require a spraying of de-icing fluid for safe travel.

In the busy New York area, the FAA warned Newark flights should expect delays due to visibility issues.

The region’s three main airports are all warning travelers that today’s rain and the incoming winter weather front may disrupt their travels.

For those whose flights are still scheduled to fly, the Transportation Security Administration is recommending that passengers arrive at the airport earlier than usual. 

Reagan National Airport’s TSA Federal Security Director John Busch told reporters that all airports “expect to be busier this holiday season than we’ve been in several years coming out of the pandemic. We’ve already seen some of our busiest days, yesterday and today and we expect maybe Friday (the) 30th ahead of the New Year’s holiday can be also a very busy day.”

But Busch added TSA is “very well prepared to handle additional volume and throughput for our security checkpoints.”

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