Atlanta To Boston Possible Holiday Airline Delays from Fog

December 21, 2011; 12:45 PM ET
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Rain and perhaps low ceilings and fog will be a player in travel in the South and the Northeast for the balance of the week. (Arkady Chubykin /

A series of rainstorms rolling up the Atlantic Seaboard for the balance of the week could contribute to delays for very busy airports in the South and Northeast.

Rain, but not snow will be a frequent visitor in Atlanta, Boston, Baltimore, Charlotte, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

The high humidity that accompanies general rainfall often produces areas of fog and low cloud ceilings.

A front approaching from the west is loaded with moisture and will deliver drenching showers and thunderstorms to much of the Atlantic Seaboard today.

A second rain event will affect many of the same areas Thursday into Friday as a storm forms along the front and rolls northeastward toward the mid-Atlantic.

A third rain event is possible in the South later Saturday, depending on the track and speed of yet another storm along the front. It is this storm that may or may not bring a white Christmas to part of the Northeast.

While generally not as disruptive as severe thunderstorms and heavy snowfall, rain and fog can lead to a slowdown in arriving and departing flights. In short, under adverse weather conditions, more separation is needed between individual aircraft that are landing and taking off.

Flights that have a destination to an airport experiencing adverse weather may be held for a time at their point of departure. Such a schedule is called a Ground Delay Program or a Ground Stop and can have ripple effects over a large part of the nation.

In severe cases, aircraft and crews may not get to their destination before they are scheduled to leave on a new flight. This is one reason how flight cancellations can occur until a new schedule can be created with alternative aircraft and crews.


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