Trains, Flights Canceled As Snowstorm Hits Areas South Of Washington, DC

A major winter storm that is expected to spare most of the Washington, D.C., region is blanketing areas south of the nation’s capital and disrupting road, air and rail travel.

As of Sunday morning, airports in the storm’s path were experiencing reduced operations, while south of Washington, intercity rail riders faced disruptions in service through Tuesday. Significant snowfall was expected in areas from southwestern Virginia through western and central North Carolina and into northwestern South Carolina.

This storm is likely to have a major impact on roadways, as well as air and rail travel through the start of the workweek.

Amtrak canceled service to points south of Washington starting Saturday and through Tuesday. Some Northeast Regional trains are operating only north of Washington. The changes affect the Auto Train, Silver Meteor, Crescent, Carolinian, Piedmont and Silver Star trains, among others.

“For the safety of our customers and employees, the operating plan for service will be adjusted,” Amtrak said in an announcement.

Amtrak is also waiving fees for travelers and said it will accommodate customers on other trains. Airlines, including American and Delta, said travelers can change their flights without penalties for travel to and from the region for trips Sunday and Monday. The severe weather is affecting airports in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

By Sunday morning, reported more than 1,600 Sunday flights had been canceled nationwide, with many of the disruptions in North Carolina. However, that number is expected to rise throughout and Monday, with the potential for hundreds of flights to be canceled.


A motorist checks his phone after sliding off the road in the snow in Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the sixth busiest airport in the country, is experiencing most of the disruption. Nearly 600 flights from the airport have been canceled Sunday and as many headed to Charlotte also were canceled. The airport said early Sunday it was open and operational, and crews continued to cleared the airfield, airport roadways, and overpasses and parking lots of snow and ice.

“Travelers are encouraged to frequently check with their air carrier for any cancellations or delays before coming to the Airport,” the airport said.

American Airlines said it reduced operations at its Charlotte hub starting Saturday evening. Scattered cancellations are expected through Monday morning, the airline said. Delta said the storm is expected to impact operations at seven hubs across the region.

At Richmond International Airport, 23 cancellations were reported Sunday, but the airport was urging travelers to check their flight statuses before heading to the airport as the number of flights canceled is expected to climb. As of 10 a.m., the airport said, “surfaces are good, all areas open, no plows or brooms required to this point.”

The immediate Washington region was not expecting major impacts from the storm. As of Sunday morning, the snowfall was sticking to the south and had yet to make it to Fredericksburg, Virginia. The bulk of accumulating snow was expected to remain south of the immediate metro area, according to The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang. But flurries and a dusting inside the Beltway was still possible.

Transportation officials in Maryland and Virginia said they were closely monitoring the conditions Sunday. The Maryland Highway Administration said it had crews ready for a chance of wintry weather developing in southern Maryland and the lower Eastern Shore.

In Virginia, crews were treating roads Sunday in Southside, Southwest and Central Virginia, while officials said crews are ready to treat roads in Northern Virginia if the storm makes a shift north.

Transportation officials in areas of North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia experiencing significant snowfall were urging residents to stay off the roads. The North Carolina Emergency Management office said crews were out clearing roads and reported more than 140,600 homes without power Sunday morning.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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