Flight Cancellations Top 5,500 as Ice Storm Hits Deep South

Power knocked out to 350,000 homes and businesses

The ice storm that pushed through North Texas earlier this week has encrusted highways, trees and power lines in ice Wednesday in the Deep South, while knocking out electricity to more than 350,000 homes and businesses.

As residents across the South heeded forecasters' unusually dire warnings and hunkered down at home against the onslaught of snow and freezing rain, the storm pushed northward along the Interstate 95 corridor, threatening to bring more than a foot of snow Thursday to the already sick-of-winter mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

Forecasters warned of a potentially "catastrophic" storm across the South with more than an inch of ice possible in places. As the day wore on, power outages climbed by the hour and the dreary weather came in waves.

Ice combined with wind gusts up to 30 mph snapped tree limbs and power lines. More than 200,000 homes and businesses lost electricity in Georgia, 130,000 in South Carolina and nearly 30,000 in Louisiana. Some people could be in the dark for days.

Flight delays and cancellations have totaled more 5,500 nationwide due to the storm, according to FlightAware.com -- specifically 2,218 delays and 3,691 cancellations.

As of 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, the nation's busiest airport, Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International, has 834 departures canceled out of Atlanta and 12 delays.  Inbound to Atlanta, carriers have canceled 809 flights and delayed 15.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina is the second most impacted airport at this time with 410 departures canceled and 57 delays.  Inbound to Charlotte, carriers have canceled 425 flights and delayed 44.

So far, Atlanta-based Delta has canceled more than 1,200 flights.

The impact of the storm is also being felt at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where 60 departures have been canceled and 83 flights have been delayed.  Inbound, another 39 flights are canceled and 67 delayed.

As of this writing, Fort Worth-based American Airlines has canceled 86 flights and delayed 89 nationwide.  American Eagle has canceled 123 and delayed 65.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines has canceled 201 flights Wednesday and delayed another 393.  None of those flights were either in our out of Dallas Love Field, according to FlightAware.com.

Southwest said Wednesday that customers traveling to, from or through eligible cities could reschedule their flight for no additional charge.  A list of the eligible cities can be found here.

Editor's Note: An earlier report indicated there were 8,500 delays and cancellations -- that number was a world wide number, not domestic.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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