Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

“I’ll be home for Christmas – if only in my dreams”

This is a nightmare year for people trying to get home for Christmas in the United States – weeks of storms have caused snarled schedules and cancelled trains and planes, stranding passengers eager to be home with family for Christmas.

Worse – my friends tell me – many groceries have not been resupplied, but that’s OK because many of their customers can’t get to the stores anyway. It’s hit merchants hard in what is already thought to be one of the most dismal selling seasons in a long, long time.

Here’s a write up from National Public Radio:

Winter Storms Frustrate Holiday Travel Nationwide

by Scott Neuman, December 23, 2008 · Bitter cold temperatures and snow have placed the northern half of the nation in a deep freeze, affecting travel in planes, trains and automobiles just as the holiday season gets under way.

Some of the worst winter storms on record have cut a swath from the Pacific Northwest to New England. Across the country, tens of thousands of people are without power after freezing rain and strong winds caused transmission lines to come down.

Heavy snowfall in western Oregon has caused traffic to come to a near standstill along Interstate 5, and state highways through the northern edge of the Coast Range are closed.

Amtrak’s Cascades passenger train service between Eugene, Ore., and Vancouver, British Columbia, was halted, but officials said they expected it to resume on Tuesday. Greyhound bus service in Portland and Seattle was also shut down.

At the Seattle-Tacoma airport, thousands of people have been waiting in hours-long lines to re-book canceled flights.

“There’s no flights going into [Las] Vegas that has any available seating,” Air Force Airman Alex James told NPR’s Morning Edition.

James said he and three other Air Force buddies hope to avoid driving from Seattle to Las Vegas, where their families are preparing for the holidays.

“We leave on our deployment on the first of January,” James said. “So, however long it takes us to get back from here is how much reduced our time at home is.”

Alaska and Horizon airlines, the West Coast’s principal carriers, resumed limited service Monday and the carriers said they hoped to resume near-normal schedules Tuesday at Seattle-Tacoma and have things normal flights by Wednesday.

In the East, the town of Eustis, Maine, got nearly 3 1/2 feet of snow. Snow and sleet — but no additional accumulation — are expected Tuesday in the Northeast.

In the nation’s midsection, the situation is just as bad.

In Illinois, which has experienced subzero conditions and wind chills as low as minus 35 degrees in recent days, temperatures are expected to rise into the 20s Tuesday. But with the reprieve will come several inches of snow, according to the forecast.

More snow is expected across the upper Midwest. Michigan could get as much as a foot of snow, while ice, snow and sleet are in the forecast for Indiana, where many people have been without electricity.

Travelers have been stranded in airports as they wait for flights to resume so they can make their way to friends and families for the holidays. Routes to much of the Pacific Northwest have been canceled, and flights to the East Coast, including New York and New Jersey, have been delayed by hours.

You can read the entire article by clicking HERE.

December 23, 2008 - Posted by | Adventure, Christmas, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Living Conditions, Seattle, Travel, Weather


  1. hehehe and here I am at the airport, ready for my 90 minute delay on the first flight. Look: its DECEMBER. Anyone flying should be aware that 1) flights are crowded and 2) the weather is generally bad. Plan accordingly: bring entertainment, bring food, bring a back-up plan.

    Every year I fly around Thanksgiving and Christmas, and every year I am surprised again by all the people who fly off the handle at airline personnel, as if the bad weather and full flights are a personal insult.

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | December 24, 2008

  2. I was one of the ones stranded. I spent two unintended day in Minneapolis. Fortunately I made it home!

    Comment by cneil | December 24, 2008

  3. LLOOLLL, Little Diamond! Safe travels and Merry Merry Christmas!

    Oh No! Thank God you made it home! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Cneil!

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 24, 2008

  4. Thanks!

    Comment by cneil | December 25, 2008

  5. God willing, that everyone make it home to family and friends on this Christmas. And – if not – that you find a family of fellow travellers, and create your own festival of good will, and peace on earth.

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 25, 2008

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