News / Economy

Weather Playing Havoc with Holiday Travel

Travelers wait in line to check in as they prepare to travel to Cuba at Miami International Airport in Miami, 23 Dec 2010
Travelers wait in line to check in as they prepare to travel to Cuba at Miami International Airport in Miami, 23 Dec 2010

Multimedia

Travelers around the world are being besieged by all kinds of problems this Christmas season: snow, mudslides and even terror threats.

Snow in Western Europe has meant a beautiful white Christmas for some people, but travel delays for many others.

The main airport in Paris was running short of de-icing liquid. Many planes could not get off the ground, leaving desperate passengers stranded on the Christmas Eve.

Some unlucky travelers were still stuck at the airport on Friday morning. One Mexican woman said she had been waiting for a flight to Geneva since Thursday. She slept the night with her young child at the airport.

An Italian traveller, Ramona Sansotta, said her flight had already been cancelled twice.

"We hope to get back home before Christmas," said Sansotta.

Snow and ice also disrupted Brussels airport in Belgium.  Richard and Kathy Broughton were trying to get home to the US.

"Our kids are over there, all the rest of the family are there," said Broughton.  "But not us this time. Oh well, Merry Christmas. The Christmas that wasn't."

But snow was not bothering everyone in the world.

China's landmark national stadium in Beijing was transformed into a winter wonderland with artificial snow: more than 25,000 tons of it.

"This is the first time I have seen snow," said student Li Yanxiao.

But in the United States the weather was playing a dirty game on California. Instead of clean, white snow, people there were facing dirty mudslides.

In Highland, California, people were chased from their homes by tides of mud and water, leaving behind homes strung with holiday lights.

The tough task was to dig out vehicles stuck in the mud. Bill Peters works for the state's Forestry and Fire Protection Department.

"You've got to dig out," said Bill Peters.  "You've got to put it on a truck, you've got to dump it, you've got to come back. It becomes a 24-7 process."

Overall, millions of Americans are braving cold weather and snow and traveling 80 kilometers or more by car or by air to be with their families for Christmas.

Passengers traveling by air face a new security alert. Airport screeners are extra-focused on thermos-type insulated beverage containers.

Security agents say there is no specific terror plot, but they are concerned.

Meanwhile, those traveling by car or truck are paying more for gas, 75 cents a liter ($3 a gallon). The national average has never been that high at Christmas-time.

Still, the American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that 9 out of 10 Americans will travel by car and almost three million will fly.

"During challenging economic times there is a battle between the heartstrings and the purse strings when it comes to time to visit family and friends during the holidays and usually the heartstrings will win out," said Troy Green of AAA.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7893
JPY
USD
107.68
GBP
USD
0.6238
CAD
USD
1.1214
INR
USD
61.185

Rates may not be current.