National News

RDU feels ripple effect from snowstorm

Posted December 21, 2012 11:33 a.m. EST
Updated December 21, 2012 11:35 p.m. EST

— Travelers facing canceled flights and closed roads were hoping to finally head to their holiday destinations Friday as a widespread snowstorm that dumped more than a foot of snow in parts of the Midwest moved across the Great Lakes toward Canada.

Even in the Triangle, the effects could be felt in delayed and canceled flights.

The storm, part of a system that began in the Rockies earlier in the week, led airlines to cancel more than 1,000 flights Thursday and caused whiteout conditions that left roads dangerous to drive on. It was blamed for deaths in at least five states, with parts of Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan hit with more than a foot of snow.

While some people went to work on digging themselves out, others were stuck waiting for word of new flight times. The fallout wasn't too bad at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. By Friday evening many families were reunited and ready to start their holiday visit.

"We had an hour and a half delay, had two hours, almost three hours in Detroit, here we are," said a relieved Kathleen Dudley.

Julie DeJong said passengers worked together to get where they needed to be.

"We had about a dozen people on our flight who were running across Detroit's airport trying to catch their connection, so we held the flight for about 20 minutes for them," she said.

Mark West found himself making part of the trip on foot as well. We literally ran, literally ran from one terminal to get to the other terminal to get on the plane," he said. "Luckily Delta held the plane up for a little bit for everybody, if not, we would have never made it today."

High winds were blamed for lingering airport delays up and down the east coast, with three-hour waits anticipated at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and La Guardia Airport in New York.

The flight cancellations were a concern during the traditionally busy holiday travel period, but Daniel Baker, CEO of flight tracking service, called it "a relatively minor event in the overall scheme of things."