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Travel warning: US faces week-long flight disruption from freezing Arctic storms

Travel warning: US faces week-long flight disruption from freezing Arctic storms

The midwest and northeast of the US have been hit by Arctic storms bringing subfreezing temperatures.

An estimated 95 million people nationwide faced weather warnings or advisories on Sunday for wind chills below -17C.

Meteorologists have warned some parts of the northeast will see intense snowfall and extreme winds, with gusts up to 89 kph possible, in the coming days.

Airports across the country have been impacted by the extreme weather with delays and cancellations.

Thousands of flights cancelled by extreme weather in US

Thousands of flights across the US have been cancelled or delayed by winter storm Gerri and more disruption is expected throughout the week.

Over the weekend, more than half of flights into and out of Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York state were cancelled.

On Monday, nearly 1,500 flights have been cancelled and almost 500 delayed, according to statistics site FlightAware.

The most affected airports are Denver International, Chicago Midway and Chicago O’Hare.

Chicago was hit by heavy snow over the weekend with 17 centimetres measured at O’Hare airport.

Forecasters also warned that rapid bursts of heavy snow and wind could cause drastic and sudden drops in visibility in eastern Pennsylvania and parts of northern New Jersey and Delaware with some ‘near whiteout conditions’ possible.

Airlines are warning passengers of further disruption throughout the week. United has issued a travel alert for flights operating through cities including Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Milwaukee and Omaha. The airline scrapped 274 flights on Monday and another 173 on Tuesday.

Delta and American Airlines have published similar travel advisories on their websites.

Many flight companies have extended their flexible travel booking period so that passengers can rebook on services until Saturday.

Months of travel disruption expected at major US airport

US travel will also be affected by closures at San Francisco International Airport beginning on 16 January.

Works to improve one of the runways will last for five months and will mean the airport has reduced capacity.

As a result, around one third of international and domestic flights will experience delays between 30 and 60 minutes, according to the airport.

The project is scheduled to be completed before 1 July, however, “in advance of the Independence Day weekend and peak summer travel season.”