ATLANTA (CBSMiami) – Air travelers heading to the southeastern United States need to be ready for plenty of delays as two major winter storms plow through an area ill-prepared to deal with a lot of winter weather.
Winter storm warnings are in effect from northeastern Louisiana through Mississippi, Alabama, most of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The storm will dump more than six inches of snow across parts of North Alabama and could leave up to a half-inch of ice in places like Atlanta.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, the forecast called for as much as eight inches of new snow and/or sleet between Tuesday and Thursday.
Roads throughout the southeastern states will quickly close and may stay closed until the snow begins to melt on Thursday. Many of the states don't have the necessary equipment to deal with heavy snowfall because it's typically an infrequent occurrence in the area.
Atlanta, which is one of the largest airports in the world and the hub for Delta Airlines, was reporting major delays as of Tuesday morning. At 4:30 p.m., Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was reporting 376 arrival cancellations and 83 arrival delays along with 271 departure cancellations and 180 departure delays.
Delta Air Lines was suffering through the most delays with 312 cancellations and 175 delays through Tuesday afternoon.
In Charlotte, the hub of U.S. Airways, the Charlotte Douglas International Airport was reporting 160 arrival cancellations, 107 arrival delays plus 160 departure cancellations and 127 departure delays.
As the flights cancellations and delays begin to stack up in Atlanta and Charlotte, other airports will likely experience delays as well. Travelers should be prepared for possible delays and cancellations if their flights go through Atlanta, Birmingham, Montgomery, Charlotte, and other cities in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina over the next day or two.
Delta flies 14 flights to Atlanta out of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport each day. They have canceled all of those flights on Wednesday. On Tuesday, there were dozens of delays to Atlanta and Charlotte as once again the weather threatens to seriously disrupt travel plans.
Jamie Columbus expected to fly through Atlanta Tuesday night with 8 others including several children but he got a heads up from Delta that his flight was cancelled and his traveling crew was rerouted through New York. He thinks the airline has learned from previous travel problems.
"I think they were a little proactive because it's not a good area to be stuck because it's such a hub area," Columbus said. "It would have been a bad situation if we were stuck in Atlanta."
He and other Delta customers praised the airline for its' handling of the weather situation. Plus, Columbus could not imagine spending the night in Atlanta's airport surrounded by kids.
"We got 5 kids traveling with us that would not have been a good experience," he said.
Delta is expected to resume limited service to Atlanta from Fort Lauderdale on Thursday morning. We're told that all other Delta traffic into and out of the airport here are expected to operate normally.
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