Dallas is among the airports hit hardest by this week’s winter storm, canceling thousands of flights and cutting power to over a quarter million people.
Wednesday is the third day of the storm roaring across the southern U.S., with waves of sleet and snow making for treacherous driving conditions. The storm has reached from the western end of Texas’ border with Mexico out into Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and even Tennessee. As of Wednesday, it’s intensifying again across Texas, with freezing rain and ice storms expected until midday Thursday.
Smack in the middle of it all is the Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport, home of American Airlines, and nearby Dallas Love Field, a hub for Southwest Airlines. Over three quarters of all flights in and out of Dallas-Fort Worth since Sunday have been canceled, along with two-thirds of flights out of Love Field.
After the February 2021 blackouts during a similar cold snap, people are worried. Over 260 thousand people have reported power outages, but the Electric Reliability Council of Texas has vowed that the grid and natural gas supply are currently reliable, with no chance of a repeat of the previous failure.
Between the critical cancellations in the airports, the power outages which aren’t a grid failure, and multiple deaths on icy roads since Monday, many are asking the Texas governor to call a state of emergency. Arkansas has already beaten them to the punch, declaring on Tuesday due to ‘numerous downed power lines’ and impassable road conditions.
2023 is already looking to be as risky a year to try flying anywhere as 2022 was. Last year, airlines saw delays in over 14% of flights, and 3.2% of all lights canceled outright, almost double the numbers from 2021. Extreme weather like this, staffing issues, and technology issues have been the main three causes, in order of likelihood.