On Tuesday, the number of flights cancelled in response to Storm Stella rose dramatically from the amount initially affected since Sunday. An estimated 400,000 travelers and thousands of flights have been affected by Winter Storm Stella-related cancelations or delays. Forecasters predicted Storm Stella would be severe. Some areas were warned to prepare for up to two feet of snow and strong winds going up to 50 mph.
More than 8,600 flights were cancelled nationwide, with 6,227 of said flights being cancelled on Tuesday alone. Disruptions to air travel already promised to roll over into Wednesday, with more than 860 flights being cancelled by Tuesday, according to FlightAware.
With 1,029 cancelled flights, both ingoing and outgoing, Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey took the largest hit. LaGuardia Airport in New York followed with 862 cancelations. John F. Kennedy International Airport came in third place with 784.
Among the 15 airlines to experience cancelations and delays numbering over 100, Southwest, JetBlue, United, American Airlines, and Republic were the five most affected. Southwest took the top spot with 918. JetBlue, American Airlines, Republic, and United have all waived their regular change fees for travelers affected by Stella; Southwest doesn't charge waive fees in general.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey released a statement on Monday advising travelers against going to airports in light of the storm. "Looking ahead, the Port Authority said passengers without confirmed reservations should not go to LaGuardia Airport even after the storm ends," it read. "The agency has made extensive plans to accommodate what is anticipated to be significant numbers of LaGuardia passengers who need to rebook flights for Wednesday and later in the week."
While New York City was spared from the 12 to 16 inches of snow that weather forecasters predicted would hit the area, other regions were severely hit by Stella. Roughly 200,000 homes across nine Northeastern states suffered power outages by early Tuesday afternoon — Massachusetts experienced the worst of it with 63,000 homes dealing with power outages. Upstate New York saw areas with as much as 19 inches of snow in multiple areas by 12 p.m.; in Pennsylvania several areas reported between 14 to 24 inches; New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut were all hit with upwards of 10 inches in several areas. By 1 p.m., the highest level of snowfall was recorded along the New York-Pennsylvania border at 30 inches.
Those who were hoping for more snow this winter definitely got what they wanted with Stella.