Flight cancellations, delays continue at LAX as brutal winter storm cripples travel

Friday, December 23, 2022
Winter storm disrupts holiday travel at LAX
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Flight cancellations and delays continued to plague travelers at LAX Friday, which is expected to be one of the busiest days of the holiday season.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Flight cancellations and delays continued to plague travelers at LAX Friday, which is expected to be one of the busiest days of the holiday season.

As of 10 a.m., nearly 70 arriving and departing flights were canceled at LAX. According to airport spokesperson Health Montgomery, that's less than 5% of total flights for Friday and a majority, more than 70%, were on time.

In the Inland Empire, a few flights were canceled and more than a dozen flights were delayed at the Ontario Airport.

Nationwide, about 5,000 flights have been cancelled - New York, Detroit, Seattle, Chicago and Denver are among the most affected areas.

The travel troubles come as much of the U.S. deals with a "one in a generation" winter storm that was expected to impact every airport in every state.

WATCH: SoCal travelers impacted by flight delays and East Coast storms

The frigid air was moving through the central United States to the east, with windchill advisories affecting about 135 million people over the coming days, weather service meteorologist Ashton Robinson Cook said Thursday.

Places like Des Moines, Iowa, will feel like minus 37 degrees, making it possible to suffer frostbite in less than five minutes.

"This is not like a snow day when you were a kid," President Joe Biden warned Thursday in the Oval Office after a briefing from federal officials. "This is serious stuff."

RELATED: 'Bomb cyclone': What to know about this kind of monster storm

Forecasters are expecting a bomb cyclone - when atmospheric pressure drops very quickly in a strong storm - to develop late Thursday and into Friday near the Great Lakes. That will stir up blizzard conditions, including heavy winds and snow, Cook said.

Though Southern California will not see frigid temperatures or snow, travelers coming in and out of LAX were left to navigate the complicated flight itineraries.

"I couldn't get a flight anywhere so I had to get my brother to drive me down to Seattle - had to book a flight out of Seattle to go to Denver, to fly here. My Seattle flight was delayed, my Denver flight was delayed and now they lost my luggage - but I'm home," said Christine Lerosen.

Traveling by car could prove to be just as stressful. According to AAA, the worst time to hit the road will be between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday. The best times to travel will be before 2 p.m. and after 8 p.m.

Southern California is expected to have the warmest temperatures in the nation, topping 80 degrees in some areas for Christmas Day.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.