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Austin airport cancels third-most flights nationwide amid winter storm

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has seen most flights canceled amid the winter storm. (Austonia)

Most flights coming to and from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport have been canceled Thursday morning as a winter storm sends a hazardous mix of sleet and freezing rain over Austin.

Austin has seen the third-highest round of canceled outbound flights out of all U.S. airports, according to FlightAware, with 76% of flights (217) canceled so far. Most incoming flights have been canceled as well, with 65% of arriving routes affected.

And as winter storms sweep the Midwest and South, 5,348 flights have been canceled nationwide. The Dallas-Fort Worth airport has garnered national attention as it closed its facilities through 11 a.m.

The latest bout of cancellations come amid a troubled season for airline travel. Last week a wintry nor'easter blasted through much of the U.S., canceling nearly 5,000 flights nationwide, while ABIA saw over 120 flights canceled or delayed on January 3 alone as the U.S. saw 12 straight days of 1,000+ flight cancellations at the height of the omicron surge.

ABIA senior public information officer Sam Haynes told Austonia that its runways are currently mostly wet, not icy, but that a sludgy mix has been reported in other areas of the airport.

"There's not a whole lot of ice on the runway," Haynes said. "We started to respond to some kind of a flushy mix on the taxiways, and then we have seen some ice on the land side surface areas. So those would be the garages, walkways and roadways, and we're monitoring and treating those."

In a tweet early Thursday morning, Austin-Bergstrom said its teams are responding to the icy mix that has accumulated on some surfaces. The airline recommended that those with scheduled flights check its status before making the hazardous trek to the airport.

Wind chill has plunged to the teens and will continue to drop after the winter storm welcomed Austinites with sleet and icy conditions early Thursday morning, leading some to feel PTSD from the devastation of February 2021's Winter Storm Uri.

The Texas Department of Transportation has recommended that Central Texans limit road travel to essential trips only, and the Drive Texas live map has reported icy and snowy conditions on overpasses of Austin roads including I-35, State Highway 45 and other stretches of road to the east and west of town.

"If your flight is confirmed, please travel safely and cautiously to the airport," Haynes said.


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