High winds, thunderstorms and rain swept across the U.S. Northeast today, disrupting air travel in cities including New York and toppling trees and power lines.
Delays at New York’s LaGuardia Airport were averaging 46 minutes as of 12:45 p.m. after peaking at more than three hours earlier today, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s website. High winds held up flights for more than an hour at John F. Kennedy International and at Newark Liberty in New Jersey.
At least 239 flights in the U.S. were canceled as of 12:45 p.m., including 75 at LaGuardia and Philadelphia International, 56 at Newark and 16 at Boston’s Logan International, said FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking service. High winds can delay commercial flights and spread backups throughout the country when they strike major East Coast airports, particularly in New York.
“Some downed trees and power lines are likely, resulting in scattered power outages,” according to a wind advisory issued for Long Island. “Winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles.”
There were 31 reports of winds knocking down trees and power lines and damaging buildings in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Delaware, said the national Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.
The winds were created by a deep area of low pressure that was moving across the Great Lakes into southern Canada, Mike Doll, a meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania, said by telephone.
“When you get low pressure this strong, you are going to get a lot of wind,” he said.
A few thousand feet above the surface, there will also be a corridor of winds as strong as 70 miles (113 kilometers) per hour, which will mean turbulence for airplanes, Doll said.
Areas of moderate or greater turbulence stretch from southern Canada along the U.S. East Coast to South Carolina, according to the national Aviation Weather Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Light turbulence covers the entire eastern third of the U.S. and Canada.
“The big airplanes and the big jets are going to feel it,” Doll said. “If you are taking off in a little Cessna, forget it.”
The winds will start to wane after dark, he said.
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