Flying headaches remain at RSW at winter storm winds down

CREATED Feb. 14, 2014

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FORT MYERS, Fla. - Weather along the east coast is slowly but surely improving, but flight cancellations remain a headache for travelers looking to fly in and out of Southwest Florida International Airport.  

Most of Friday's cancellations involve arrivals from Newark to Providence.  The numbers have dwindled to less than a dozen from the 60 plus scene on Thursday

Drivers throughout the East Coast are facing slippery and slushy roads Friday, a day after heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain slammed the region, snarling travel and forcing airlines to cancel thousands of flights across the country.

The bad weather continued overnight in some places — just in time to delay tens of thousands of deliveries of Valentine's Day flowers — as a wintry mix fell on roads already covered in many parts of the Northeast with deep puddles and icy patches.

By the time it stopped in Pennsylvania, 22.5 inches of snow was reported in Somerset County, 20 inches in Berks and York counties, and almost 19 inches in Allentown, according to the National Weather Service. Parts of upstate New York got between 12 and 27 inches of snow.

Philadelphia had nearly 9 inches, its fourth 6-inch snowstorm of the season — the first time that has happened in the city since record-keeping began in the late 1800s. New York City received nearly 10 inches, and parts of New Jersey had more than 11.

The sloppy mix of snow and face-stinging sleet grounded more than 6,500 flights nationwide on Thursday and closed schools, businesses and government centers. About 1.2 million utility customers lost power as the storm moved from the South through the Northeast, dropping to about 440,000 outages by Friday morning, mostly in South Carolina and Georgia.

"Every time it snows, it's like, "Oh, not again,'" said Randal DeIvernois of New Cumberland, Pa., which had about 10 inches of snow by midafternoon Thursday. "I didn't get this much snow when I lived in Colorado."

By Friday morning, the number of flight cancellations dropped to about 1,110 nationwide. Many schools remained closed in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York state, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Virginia, while some in Rhode Island were opening late.