Local News

Rough weather affects regional air travel, traffic

Posted December 26, 2012

— Rough weather forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights across the country Wednesday, and the ripple effect reached Raleigh-Durham International Airport during busy post-holiday travel.

Airport officials didn’t have exact numbers but said many travelers were experiencing cancellations or delays due to inclement weather in other cities. They encouraged travelers and those who need to come to the airport to pick up passengers to call first or check online for possible delays.

Tressie Daniels came to pick up a loved one Wednesday morning only to see the flight status change about every 15 minutes.

“When I got here at 9:30, everything was pretty much on time,” she said. “And then as I sat here it started with the delays and cancellations, and it’s just been rolling through since.”

Joe and Valerie Rainman came from Kansas to Raleigh to visit their son, who recently moved here. The couple, along with their dog, was scheduled to flight out to Dallas on Christmas morning when their flight was canceled because of the storm system moving over Texas.

Their afternoon flight was canceled, too.

"Yep, we spent the whole day," said Valerie Rainman, who was back with her husband and pup at RDU on Wednesday. "We asked them if we could just come back tomorrow, so we could have the day. It was a beautiful day. Nope, they kept us here all day."

Rebooking their flight for Wednesday was frustrating because of weather-related delays, Valerie Rainman said. She joked that she now knows every inch of the newly remodeled Terminal 2 at RDU.

"One of the baggage carriers came by and waved at me," she said. "I feel like I live here now."

Heavy rain and winds affected regional traffic as well. The North Carolina Highway Patrol reported 186 emergency calls from midnight through 5 p.m. Wednesday, with the majority of calls for crashes.

“Particularly in Wake County, we have responded to approximately 10 collisions, mostly property damage,” First Sgt. Jeff Gordon said.

Interstate 85, near mile marker 206, in Granville County was also a high-volume spot for crashes, he said. Water on Interstate 40 in Durham County, near N.C. Highway 55, was slowing down traffic about 1 p.m.

Many motorists are simply going too fast on rain-soaked roadways and losing control or hydroplaning, Gordon said. He urged drivers to slow down, increase their following distance, watch for flooding and look out for downed tree limbs or other debris.

The state Department of Transportation also warned that ferry routes could be suspended Wednesday because of high winds. Ferry riders were encouraged to call to find out whether their routes are affected.


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  • Screw WrAl Dec 28, 2012

    blizzard is on the way.

  • VW girl 2013 Dec 28, 2012

    He urged drivers to slow down, increase their following distance, watch for flooding and look out for downed tree limbs or other debris. - Sgt Jeff Gordon

    Only problem with this is that when I give extra space between me & the car in front of me, some "bleep" driver decides to slide right in and take the space and make us bumper-to-bumper again. People have no common sense when driving in rain.

    As for the flights, I went to BWI on Saturday for Christmas with my family and the only issue we had was cross-winds upon landing. Almost thought we were gonna clip a wing, but the pilots did a great job and we landed safe & sound. The entire plane erupted in applause for the job well done in a VERY rough weathered day!

  • North Carolina Cutie Dec 27, 2012

    People do drive to fast when it rain just realize slowing down will save your life and someone else and your cars.

  • jblake1932 Dec 27, 2012

    Awe, the poor wittle travelers had a flight delay. CHEER UP, AT LEAST YOU MADE IT BACK SAFE! GEESH! NOTHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR, IS IT!?

  • mittnfriends Dec 26, 2012

    Here goes the liberal media covering up Obama's destruction of America. We all know he Obama started all these bad storms, so tax payers can't fly to their jobs! Just like he has sent all these crazy white men to commit mass shootings.