Storm could delay Thanksgiving travelers

November 20, 2012 7:04:02 PM PST
The full force of the coming storm has not yet reached the entire Bay Area, but advancing clouds and rain have already caused long delays at San Francisco International Airport. Tuesday and Wednesday are the heavy travel days for Thanksgiving and the combination of low clouds and wind already caused delays up to two hours Tuesday as take-off and landing patterns had to be reversed.

With clouds creating low visibility, weather delays grew longer at SFO. In bad weather, flights depart toward the east, instead of the west, putting them in air space in the vicinity of Oakland International Airport and requiring that take-offs to be staggered.

Inside the terminals, passengers saw their patience tested, especially the kids, as they waited for conditions to improve.

Cheryl Roberts was monitoring the delays for the travel website Travelocity.

"It's showing about 50 percent of all inbound and outbound flights have been affected by the weather, so patience is key, and just keep an eye on timing and new updates as they post," she said.

SFO is expecting 3 percent growth in passenger volume during the holidays over last year, so delays mean more people waiting around the terminals. Some will be first-time flyers unfamiliar with delays. SFO posted a YouTube video to provide travel tips.

4.7 million Californians are expected to hit the road during Thanksgiving weekend. But some are re-thinking their plans with the storms approaching and hazards created by other drivers.

"The slick roads, driving too fast, too close, all those make it very dangerous," San Jose resident Steve Jackson said.

The California Highway Patrol is recommending that people do a safety check of their vehicle before hitting the road and then exercise patience.

"Take your time, be patient," CHP Ofc. DJ Sarabia said. "We want you to leave early to wherever you're going to, and also check the road conditions where you're going. You may be going half-hour from home or you may be traveling four or five hours. So check the road conditions before you leave."

Besides delays, the weather also caused 50 flight cancellations, mostly regional flights to places like Monterey and Santa Barbara.


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