TRAVERSE CITY — Snowfall off Lake Michigan’s southern tip inconvenienced travelers in the Grand Traverse region as they tried to get home after holiday trips.
Bad weather in the Windy City wreaked havoc on flight schedules at Cherry Capital Airport on Thursday with as many as two inbound flights from Chicago and six outbound flights to Chicago either rerouted or nixed altogether.
Airport Director Kevin Klein said heavy snowfall was to blame for cancellations and other flight changes, but conditions in Chicago were expected to improve by today.
“They’ve had some pretty heavy snow come through in the last few days,” he said.
Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, one of two locations — along with Detroit Metro Airport — that hosts flights to and from Traverse City, serves as a “hub” for airline passengers across the nation, Klein said. The snow in Chicago affected flights everywhere as a result.
Airlines like United tried to ease the burden on Cherry Capital Airport users by rerouting some flights through other locations, including Syracuse, N.Y., Klein said.
Klein could not estimate how many passengers were affected by cancellations. He said Cherry Capital Airport mitigated flight cancellations and delays well overall this winter with crews removing snow from runways nearly 24 hours a day.
“With the heavier snow and colder temperatures we expected to see some more cancellations and things like that. However, we’ve been looking pretty good so far,” he said.
Klein said travelers should check Cherry Capital’s website or its new smartphone application for information about cancellations and delays. Instructions on how to download the smartphone application are available on the website. Passengers of canceled flights should contact their airline.
Chicago’s weather stands to improve in the next few days, but forecasters predict the Grand Traverse region will only grow colder following milder weekend temperatures.
High temperatures should reach the upper 20s on Saturday and hover right around 20 on Sunday, said Nick Schwartz, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service post in Gaylord. Snow is expected, with one to two inches accumulating during the day Saturday, and up to another inch Saturday night.
Then the bottom is expected to “drop out” early next week, with some of the coldest temperatures of the winter blanketing the area, Schwartz said. High temperatures are expected to hover in the single digits Monday before reaching about 10 degrees Tuesday.
The end of the work week should be slightly warmer with highs climbing in to the 20s.