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One For The Record Books

US east coast winter storm continues to aggravate travel

Jill Lyman  Dec 22, 2009

It is one for the record books in many areas along the east coast. The winter snowstorm dumped up to two feet of snow from the Carolinas to Cape Cod bringing airports and roadways to a standstill. Many travelers are still stuck at major airports and it could take the rest of the week for airlines to catch up. Delays are only 15 minutes at airports like New York's LaGuardia, but a backlog of cancelled flights are creating a ripple effect on the system.

Along the eastern seaboard tens of thousands are digging out and trying to get out at airports following the weekend winter wallop.

"I will take a flight anywhere and then try to get a connecting flight to any city in Florida," said one traveler.

Reagan National Airport in Washington reopened after more than 16 inches of snow closed terminals and tarmacs for 24 hours. But the damage is done at airports across the country. More than 1,200 flights alone were cancelled at New York's major airports and many passengers are still stranded.

"I just want to go home. I've been here for a while. I've been trying to go home for two days now. I got some people waiting on me, it's Christmas time," said one traveler.

Many travelers are not getting seats on already full flights until after Christmas. The record setting snowstorm hit on the last weekend of autumn and at the start of the holiday getaway. Blizzard like conditions stretched from the Carolinas to New England. And along the way, record snowfall.

Philadelphia got nearly two feet of snow in 24 hours. Snowplows lined up but couldn't keep up. Driving on major highways was treacherous at best. In Virginia, traffic was at a standstill for hours. And even Amtrak struggled with delays.

"I'm a little frustrated, because I really wanted to be home for the holidays," said traveler Carla Gant.

The coming days should be storm free, enough time travelers and airlines are hoping will get them back on track. The airlines recommend to call or check online before heading to the airport to find out the status of a flight.

US east coast winter storm continues to aggravate travel
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