Winter storm grounds 5,000 flights, shutters federal gov’t

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – More than 5,000 flights were grounded nationwide while federal agencies and offices in the capital did not open on Thursday morning due to a winter storm.

The same storm that brought flights to a virtual standstill Wednesday at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International, the world’s busiest airport, also grounded planes in New York, Atlanta, Washington, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charlotte and Boston airports. Reagan National and Dulles International airports suspended all flight operations as of 6:45 a..m. ET. Dulles also diverted five inbound international flights to snow-free airports. Most flights at Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) were cancelled.

The flight cancellations rippled to Florida and California airports. More than 60 departure flights were suspended at Orlando and more than three dozens at Miami, Tampa and Fort Lauderdale. More than 44 arrivals and about 20 departures were axed Thursday at Los Angeles and 24 in San Diego airports.

Meanwhile, thousands of federal workers had their second snow day of 2014 after being told to stay home Wednesday night. Several congressional committees postponed hearings and other business early Wednesday afternoon and many workers were instructed to take their work home with them. Schools in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland were also shuttered.

The winter storm is forecast to impact the Northeast Thursday through Friday, the Weather Channel said. It added that travel in the Middle Atlantic and Northeast from Virginia to Maine will likely be disrupted through Thursday night. Forecasters said 8 inches and a foot of snow fell in communities from Virginia to Maryland.

There was minimal power outage in the D.C. area but hundreds of thousands of Southerners reported loss of power.

Metrobus suspended service while VRE and Marc trains cancelled runs.

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