Friday marks busiest travel day before Christmas on roads and in air; Here’s what travelers should expect

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San Francisco (KGO) — West Coast travelers are no exception, feeling the effects of a massive winter storm sweeping the other side of the country.

It’s like a “perfect storm”, both in the sky and on the road, on the busiest travel day of the week before Christmas.

Billy Cowley, who lives in Iowa, said, “It’s two hours ahead of schedule, so it’s been 24 hours.

As a “once in a generation” storm hits parts of the Midwest and East Coast, Cowley, her husband and four children unexpectedly sleep overnight in SFO and find themselves trapped in a traveling maze. rice field.

“It was really cold last night. I was shivering,” Cowley’s 16-year-old daughter said.

Details: Bay Area airports see cancellations and delays as powerful winter storms disrupt vacation travel

From the small town of Fayette, Iowa, I hopped on a plane in Des Moines on Thursday, was late, booked another flight to Denver, waited and waited there, and finally waited on my flight to San Francisco. They were able to get to Sacramento where they were to leave for Maui on Christmas Eve.

“It was Christmas Day when we first got to Sacramento,” Cowley said.

They were finally able to drive them to their family in Yuba City, where they were waiting for their flight to Maui on Saturday.

“We basically left Iowa in a snowstorm,” she said. Seeing all these families with little babies who can’t do it, we’ve done it before.I’m just grateful that our kids are old enough. I have something that will make you crazy.

‘Bomb Cyclone’: What You Need to Know About This Kind of Monster Storm

Roadway drivers won’t be as lucky as the Cowleys, as Friday is expected to be the busiest day on the roads before Christmas, according to AAA.

“Make sure you have gas in your car. Don’t leave it there assuming you can just go to the gas station and you’ll be fine,” CHP spokesman Officer Andrew Berkley said. That traffic gets exponentially worse when you get stuck and cars die blocking lanes.”

CHP is looking for aggressive and distracting drivers and has also started a maximum DUI enforcement period of 6pm Friday night to midnight Sunday night.

“What that means for us is that we have as many police officers as we can get on the road,” Barkley said. “It’s more than just alcohol. Cannabis, prescription drugs. , there are all kinds of drugs that interfere with the safe driving of the car.”

Read more: Timeline: River of Atmosphere Heads to Bay Area Next Week

And whether you’re flying or driving this holiday weekend, the most important thing before you leave is patience.

“It’s been a long road, but it’s all part of the journey,” said Matt Cowley, who lives in Iowa.

As of 11:30am on Friday, SFO has 73 canceled flights and 153 delayed flights, so be sure to check your flight status before heading to the airport.

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