A winter storm that meteorologists have termed a “bomb cyclone” continued to wreak havoc throughout the country early Friday, creating more flight cancellations in what officials anticipated would be another brutal day of holiday travel.
Forecasters have called the winter waxing a “once in a generation” storm, and it continued to serve up frigid life-threatening temperatures through the Midwest and Northeast. The National Weather Service said Friday that more than 200 million people nationwide — roughly 60% of the U.S. population — were under some sort of winter weather warning or advisory.
People trying to get home for the Christmas holiday continue to be battered, as well. As of 7:30 a.m., 3,638 flights into, out of and within the United States had been cancelled, according the flight tracking website FlightAware.com. On Thursday, the total was 2,625.
All three major Bay Area airports were experiencing the effects of the weather, even as the region saw cold but not stormy conditions. San Francisco International Airport had cancelled 46 flights; Mineta San Jose International Airport listed 35 cancellations, and Oakland International Airport listed 34, according to FlightAware.
Much of the travel meltdown has been caused by storms in Chicago and Denver. Both areas endured whiteout conditions Thursday, according to the NWS. Snow was not expected to fall Friday in Chicago, where temperatures were set to max out at 3 degrees. In Denver, where temperatures fell 37 degrees in one hour on Thursday, the thermometer was expected to get up to 19 degrees Friday after an early morning wind chill of -45.
In the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and Horizon Airlines cancelled all flights at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport before noon, after conditions forced authorities to close the runways.
Locally, the weather was mild. The weather service reported that parts of the North Bay near Cloverdale received light showers Thursday night, but not enough to be measured. Temperatures in the South Bay were expected to climb into the 60s Friday, while areas of Alameda and Contra Costa counties would likely get there by Saturday.
A storm is migrating toward the Bay Area from the Pacific Northwest, according to the weather service. Weather forecasters anticipate that system, arriving late Monday or sometime Tuesday, could dump at least one to two inches of rain throughout the region, and possibly as much as four inches in the coastal mountains.