U.S. airlines cancel thousands of flights due to the winter storm

WASHINGTON, Dec 24 (Reuters) – The U.S. As of Saturday afternoon, airlines in the United States had cancelled nearly 2,700 flights after a massive winter storm disrupted airport operations across the country, frustrating thousands of holiday travellers.

According to flight tracking website FlightAware, there were approximately 6,200 flight delays within, into, or out of the United States as of Saturday afternoon, with approximately 2,700 total U.S. flight cancellations. Southwest Airlines (LUV.N) had over 750 cancellations as of Saturday afternoon, and Delta Air Lines Inc. had nearly 500. (DAL.N).

The flight delays occurred as an arctic blast swept across much of the United States on Saturday, causing power outages and car accidents. Temperatures were expected to plummet, bringing the coldest Christmas Eve on record to cities ranging from Pennsylvania to Georgia.

Temperatures in Pittsburgh were expected to reach 7 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 13 Celsius) on Saturday, breaking the city’s previous all-time low of 13 degrees Fahrenheit (F) on Christmas Eve in 1983, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

According to the United States Global Change Research Program, the frequency and intensity of winter storms have increased over the last 70 years. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, this is due in part to climate change, as the planet evaporates more water into the atmosphere as it warms, resulting in more overall precipitation.

According to FlightAware, there were 5,936 flight cancellations in the United States on Friday.