Nearly 5,000 flights were canceled as omicron sparks disrupted the Christmas tour

Nearly 5,000 flights were canceled around the world over the Christmas weekend as holiday travel plans stopped amid the rapidly spreading Covid-19 omicron variant.

Nearly 2,500 global flights were canceled on Christmas Day alone, according to FlightAware, with some airlines citing the spread of the new variant as the cause of the chaos. At least 850 flights canceled on Saturday were scheduled to fly in, out of or out of the United States.

Thousands of Americans hoping to make it home for Christmas were likely left stranded, while in some parts of the country extreme weather caused further complications.

Several major airlines, including United, Delta and Alaska, said they had to cancel hundreds of flights on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day after the omicron variant infected employees and crew members.

It comes as thousands of people across the U.S. are expected to be quarantined this Christmas after testing positive for Covid-19, while many others have canceled, delayed or changed their holiday plans due to increased cases among propagation of the highly transmissible variant.

On Christmas Eve alone, more than 197,300 new cases of Covid were reported, according to a tracker maintained by the New York Times, which noted that many states did not report data for the day.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not update their Covid data tracker to Friday and will not do so until Christmas and Boxing Day, before resuming Monday, December 27th.

Extreme Christmas weather has also threatened travel difficulties, with winter storms in the western United States bringing rain, snow and potentially even a rare white Christmas for some.

On Thursday, flooding in California left two people dead after their cars plunged into a flooded underpass in Millbrae, south of San Francisco. Evacuation orders were also issued issued in Orange County due to possible mudslides and debris flow in three canyons, but they were woke up on Christmas Eve.

In a Christmas Day forecast summary, the National Weather Service said some parts of the west could expect “significant snowfall in the mountains, disrupted ground snow and rain travel during the holiday weekend.”

“Abnormally cold conditions and a humidity dam in the Pacific cause extended periods of mountain snow and coastal rain / valleys, some of which can fall heavily at times,” the weather service said, adding that “enough cold air is in place for even metropolitan Northwestern areas to receive measurable snow. “

However, the heaviest snowfall is expected to descend to the north and central Sierras, with 2 to 4 feet of snow expected.

“Travel will be treacherous, at (the) impossible time, from the Sierras to the Central Rockies this weekend due to white conditions and floating snow,” the National Weather Service warned.

The snow has already caused severe delays in travel on Christmas Eve, with several spinouts forcing the closure of highways and interstates for several hours, according to NBC affiliate KCRA-TV.

KCRA reported that the delays lasted so long that some families began taking seats in their cars and created an impromptu tailgate.

In Portland, Oregon, a winter storm warning was issued while residents waited to see if they would get a white Christmas this year.

According to the National Weather Service, the city’s metro area can receive as much as 2 to 5 inches of snow. Meanwhile, Seattle in neighboring Washington state could also witness a rare few inches of snow, with the city under a winter weather consultation until Sunday afternoon.

As parts of the western United States see storms, the central and eastern areas of the United States are expected to see abnormal temperatures, with maximum levels also possible from the South Plains to the Mid-Atlantic.

“The warmest average Christmas temperature will be from the heart of Texas to the Middle Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley, and Mid-Atlantic where departure temperatures are 25 to 35 degrees higher than normal,” the National Weather Service said. .

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