Wild weather forecast snarls holiday travel plans on planes, trains and highways

Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 11:44 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 22, 2022 at 5:06 PM EST
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WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) - An impending storm is expected to bring rain, snow and intense winds to our region. That’s led to canceled flights and trains, and triggered travel warnings across our region. Now, people are trying to reroute their holiday trips or making new plans to stay home.

“I think I am probably going to avoid driving on Saturday morning,” said Damon Nazarenko of Ferrisburgh. “That looks like that’s going to be pretty bad.”

Nazarenko is just one of the many Vermonters who decided to celebrate his holiday close to home due to the huge winter storm coming our way.

“I’m just going to head down, take it easy, go to my parents’ house,” Nazarenko said. “Ice is not good to drive on no matter what you got for tires, let’s face it.”

“I’m staying local, staying home,” said Nina Whalon of Bristol. “I don’t really like to travel in the winter. I don’t like to drive in the winter at all. I don’t drive on black ice, I learned my lesson. I make my husband drive.”

Flyers have less flexibility. Some Friday flights are already being canceled. Thursday at the Burlington International Airport there were some delays, but people were glad to be traveling before the storm.

“I did have to re-book my flight. I was originally going through Chicago. That was not going to work out well, going through D.C. now. Very stressed out, you know, I wanted to make it home. I haven’t been home in a while,” said Luke Arnell of Burlington.

“I absolutely watched the Weather Channel for the last four or five days nonstop. I just kept thinking because my flight was so early coming out of New Orleans, as I watched the storm come across the United States, I just thought I’d be out in front of it. I was,” said Kimberly Gill of New Orleans.

Some 14,000 flyers are expected to come through the Burlington airport between Thursday and next Tuesday. The airport is reminding travelers to check their phones before leaving the house.

“Keep an eye on your airline schedules is the best advice we have for any folks that are looking to travel tomorrow. Make sure to check your emails. Stay up to date with what the airlines are posting. If there is anything that’s a question, make sure to call your airlines as well,” advised Shelby Losier, the ground transportation director.

If you planned to travel by train Friday, you’re out of luck. Amtrak canceled all of its trains scheduled to run in Vermont on Friday due to the weather.

“With 70-mile-an-hour wind potential, potential hazard for trees, the Amtrak service in and out of Vermont tomorrow, Friday’s travel will be canceled,” said Dan Delabruere of VTrans.

Service will resume Saturday, weather permitting.

Amtrak says customers can call 1-800-USA-RAIL if their trip has been impacted and change and cancelation fees will be waived.

If you are planning to drive on Friday, a flash freeze is expected to start in the afternoon.

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