Storms switch from Northwest to Midwest

Posted: Updated:
Flyers giving up

UPDATE: Tuesday, Dec. 23

UNDATED (AP) -- Clearing skies in the West are helping stranded passengers finally get out of the Seattle airport.

Thousands had been stuck there for days by a wintry blast. An airport spokesman now says the number of people stranded is down to "a hundred, if that."

Meanwhile, Amtrak is restoring passenger train service between Eugene, Oregon, and Vancouver, British Columbia.

But in the Midwest, wintry weather is causing cancellations of hundreds of flights in Chicago. Flight delays are reported at both O'Hare International and Midway airports.

At Chicago's Union Station, dozens of Amtrak passengers say they've been stranded in Chicago for more than 12 hours awaiting a New York-bound train.

Freezing rain and icy conditions are also being blamed for a multi-vehicle wreck on Interstate 64 in southwestern Illinois. It caused a tractor-trailer to jackknife, blocking parts of the highway.

Farther East, only a few thousand New Hampshire homes and businesses remain in the dark, more than 10 days after an ice storm that knocked out power.

UPDATE: Monday, Dec. 22

More bad weather moving across the country is adding to backlog of cancelled flights and stranded passengers at Sky Harbor.

At least 8 more flights were cancelled out of Phoenix on Monday.

Most were headed to Portland Oregon. A few others were headed to other Northwest destinations like Spokane and Seattle in Washington state.

The cancellations have some people giving up on trying to spend the holidays with their families out of town.

Frustrated flyer Luis Ascencio says "It's impossible with the weather, the holidays. Nothing's impossible, but it looks impossible right now."

Most of the people trying to re-book after the cancellations won't be able to fly out until at least Christmas day.

UPDATE: Monday, Dec. 22 MESA -- The holiday travel season is not off to a good start for some.

Winter weather has stranded hundreds of travelers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and other airports nationwide.

Tempe-based US Airways spokeswoman Liz Lando says they canceled more than 80 flights nationwide as snow slowed and stopped operations at airports on both coasts.

About 400 US Airways travelers were stuck overnight in Phoenix after the airline canceled two flights each to Portland, Ore., and Seattle.

Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Ashley Rogers says they canceled nearly 200 flights nationwide, including all flights to Portland, Seattle and Buffalo, New York.

The exact numbers of flights originating in Phoenix and customers who were displaced were not immediately available.

Information from: East Valley Tribune/Scottsdale Tribune

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

ORIGINAL STORY: Thousands stranded at Sky Harbor as airlines cancel flights

PHOENIX - Weather is making the holiday rush home come to a halt, leaving passengers stranded.

US Air, Alaska and Southwest Airlines have all cancelled flights to Portland and Seattle on Sunday, stranding thousands of passengers at Sky Harbor.

There were long lines of people at the counters trying to find new seats but this time of year a lot of flights are booked, especially since the airlines have cut the number of planes they are flying.

Many of the people at the airport will not be able to get back to the northwest until later this week, some as late as Christmas.

3TV talked to a sailor who went on leave from South Carolina. His connecting flight in Phoenix was cancelled and he is stuck now for days. Nathan Van Hoff explains, "They've told me on the 25th I'll be able to get to Portlandmight be a good Christmas present for my parents." He is taking it in stride.

Other people were not taking the delays too well and 3TV saw a couple of people in tears.

In addition to the cancelled flights, there are a lot of delays in and out of Sky Harbor Sunday night. Some as short as 15 minutes and others as long as three hours.