Aer Lingus cancels flights to New York as US east coast braces for ‘historic’ blizzard

National Weather Services predicts snow fall of up to 90cm

A winter storm expected to dump hefty amounts of snow bears down on a wide swath of America's east coast, prompting a blizzard warning stretching from New Hampshire to Philadelphia. Video: Reuters

 

Aer Lingus has cancelled flights between Dublin and New York today ahead of the potentially “historic” blizzard to hit the east coast ofthe US.

The airline warned further flights might be disrupted on Tuesday as the weather conditions worsen.

The National Weather Service on Sunday issued a blizzard warning for the northern section of the East Coast from Monday afternoon until Tuesday, placing states from New Jersey to Indiana under winter storm watches and advisories.

Airlines were already cancelling hundreds of flights ahead of the storm.

“This could be the biggest snowstorm in the history of this city,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference, saying snowfall could reach up to 90cms.

Mr De Blasio told residents of America’s financial capital and most populous city to stay off the roads and to “prepare for something worse than we have seen before.”

The biggest snowfall on record in New York City was the storm of February 11th and 12th, 2006, that dropped 68 cm, according to the city’s Office of Emergency Management.

The NWS called the approaching system a “crippling and potentially historic blizzard,” with many areas along the East Coast expected to see between 30 to 60cm of snow.

The New York City area could be the hardest hit, with lashing winds and snowfall of 76 cm or more in some suburbs.

Delta Air Lines said on Sunday it was cancelling 600 flights because of the blizzard warning for the East Coast, while United Airlines will cancel all Tuesday flights at airports in New York, Boston and Philadelphia.

The company will limit operations beginning on Monday night at the Newark, LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports in the New York area, a spokeswoman said.

Southwest Airlines said it had cancelled about 20 flights.

American Airlines said cancellation plans would not be finalized until Monday morning but that it expected “quite a few” flights to be affected. Flight-tracking website Flightaware.com showed 637 flights cancelled for Monday as of Sunday evening.

Cities along the heavily populated East Coast had snowploughs and trucks to dispense road salt on standby. Stores saw a rush of shoppers stocking up on essentials.

“People have been coming in since this morning, buying rock salt and shovels,” said Michael Harris, who works at Ace Hardware in Wading River, New York.

The Philadelphia Streets Department said on its Facebook page that crews were preparing for a “messy Monday morning commute.” The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation told travellers to postpone travel if necessary and carry emergency kits if they do go out.

Reuters