PHOTO: Winter Storm Stella is expected to cause massive travel issues in the northeast from the roads to the rails to the sky. (photo via Flickr/Konrad Lembcke)
Winter Storm Stella began to hit the Northeast early Tuesday morning (just after midnight), bringing with her powerful winds, blizzard conditions and enough of a pre-storm reputation to begin wreaking havoc on the east coast.
As of 2 a.m. Tuesday, when the first flurries began to fly on the I-95 corridor between Washington D.C. and Boston, 747 flights had been delayed during just the two-hour window starting at midnight, according to flightaware.com. On Monday—a full day ahead of the storm’s impact on the Northeast—2,337 flights were canceled across the U.S. and 6,461 were delayed.
American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, United and Virgin America began offering travel waivers to its customers on Monday. American Airlines went so far as to announce Monday night that it is suspending operations for Tuesday at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport as the city braced for upward of 18 to 24 inches of snow.
Amtrak announced that its two heavily populated Acela train lines are also affected: No trains are running between New York and Boston on Tuesday and limited service is available between New York and Washington.
Virginia, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut also declared states of emergencies as of midnight. Thus, school on Tuesday was already canceled for hundreds of thousands of students in the Northeast before they even left for the day on Monday.
“This is going to be a lot of snow very quickly,” Connecticut Department of Transportation spokesman Kevin Nursick said. “Unless it’s an emergency situation, people should stay off the road Tuesday. You’re not going to see three feet in front of your vehicle, you won’t see the shoulder or the snow plow. There will be 50 mph winds and very low visibility. This storm is no joke.”
READ MORE Winter Storm Stella Causing Cancellations, Headaches
As of 5 a.m. on Tuesday morning, Connecticut implemented a statewide travel ban: Nobody on the roads unless it is emergency vehicles.
“People should stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
The threat of Stella even canceled plans for a meeting between President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday. Their meeting has been postponed until Friday, March 17.