Today, Winter Storm Petra will move east bringing widespread snow and ice to the Midwest and parts of the East Coast.
Winter Storm Warnings, Winter Storm Watches, and Winter Weather Advisories have been issued by the National Weather Service for a large area stretching from the southern Rockies to the central and southern Plains, upper Midwest, Ohio Valley, central and southern Appalachians, and mid-Atlantic.
Most locations in the Plains and Midwest will see less than 6 inches of snow from Winter Storm Petra. Snow totals of more than 6 inches can be expected in parts of the upper Midwest, including from eastern Nebraska to Iowa and southern and central Minnesota. In the East, the greatest chance for 6 inches or more of snow is in the central Appalachians from south-central Pennsylvania to eastern West Virginia and northern Virginia. Portions of northern New England could also see heavier snow totals near 6 inches. The Washington DC and Baltimore metro-areas could see 3 to 6 inches of snow; snow totals will depend on how quickly the transition to sleet and freezing rain occurs.
Poor travel conditions remain the main impact of Winter Storm Petra across the Midwest and Northeast. Travelers are advised to reconfirm flights and allow additional time for journeys.
Due to inclement weather, there is a traffic management program in effect for flights arriving to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). This is causing some arriving flights to be delayed an average of 2 hours and 36 minutes. Travelers are advised to reconfirm flights and allow additional travel time.
Due to inclement weather, there is a traffic management program in effect for flights arriving to Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport (MSP). This is causing some arriving flights to be delayed an average of 1 hour and 4 minutes. Travelers are advised to reconfirm flights and allow additional travel time.
Today, travelers in Ottawa should plan routes bypassing a planned rally at Parliament Hill by truck drivers protesting the government’s energy policies. A convoy of participants departed from Red Deer on February 14 and are currently en route to Ottawa. The event will be held between 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM local time.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Mexico City should anticipate and avoid protests by taxi drivers against a government policy relating to the app-based ride-share service provider Uber. Taxi drivers intend to rally at 6:00 AM local time today in front of the National Palace ahead of a meeting with officials of Mexico City’s Mobility Secretariat tomorrow. While the exact time of this meeting has not yet been announced, protests in the vicinity of the Secretariat are likely.
On Sunday, February 24, travelers in Algiers should anticipate significant disruption and a heightened security force presence during the 48th anniversary of the oil industry’s nationalization. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will reportedly make several public appearances on the day, including to inaugurate the Algiers Great Mosque and visit a refurbished major oil refinery in Baraki, south of Algiers. There have also been calls for nationwide anti-Bouteflika protests on the day, which should be avoided as a precaution.
On Sunday, February 24, travelers in Cairo and other urban centers should anticipate disruption to app-based ride-share services. Drivers of these services will observe a strike on these days to demand higher fees and changes to cancellation policies. Related gatherings are possible but likely to remain small due to authorities’ harsh stance on protests.
Travelers in Amman should avoid further weekly protest rallies at the Fourth Circle, the next of which is planned for tomorrow at 5:00 PM local time. Protesters have gathered weekly in protest of a new income tax law and to demand political and economic reform. Previous protests have been peaceful; however, they have attracted a heightened security force presence. Travelers should plan routes bypassing the area to minimize inconvenience as there is potential for traffic restrictions around the Fourth Circle, including near the Prime Minister’s office and Jordan Hospital.
On February 14, three people were killed, and eight others injured when two homemade bombs detonated in a deserted area of Wadi al-Azraq. A civilian was killed in the first blast, then a second explosion claimed the lives of two security officers investigating the original incident. The development underlines the latent threat of militancy in Jordan and the potential for sporadic, small-scale attacks. Travelers in Jordan should observe basic precautions accordingly and minimize time spent near potential militant targets.
On Saturday, February 23, travelers in Beirut should avoid a protest at 4:00 PM local time outside the Interior Ministry. The protest has been called by the “You Stink” activist movement in support of the establishment of civil marriage in Lebanon. Personal status issues, such as marriage and divorce, are currently governed by religious laws overseen by associated courts. As such, many mixed-religion Lebanese couples choose to travel to Cyprus to obtain marriage licenses. While several draft laws for civil marriage have been introduced over the years, the issue remains controversial.
Today, travelers in urban centers should anticipate disruption and avoid all gatherings associated with a public sector strike over socio-economic grievances. Related demonstrations are likely outside government buildings across the country. Flashpoints in Rabat include the Parliament building.
Today, travelers in Lagos should plan journeys bypassing the Secretariat of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party on Acme Road in the Ogba area. An APC meeting is due to be held there at 10:00 AM local time; a significant number of supporters are likely to gather. Unconfirmed reports indicate that President Muhammadu Buhari is likely to attend the meeting.
Today, travelers in Johannesburg should reconfirm the status of routes before setting out due to an ongoing protest on the N14 Motorway in the Diepsloot suburb. Participants have blockaded the road with burning tires, resulting in significant traffic disruption, in protest of heavy traffic on the road. Police are on-scene monitoring the situation. A protest earlier today in the Protea Glen suburb has been dispersed, and the R559 and N12 motorways have reopened.
Today, travelers in Cape Town should plan routes avoiding a march in the city center. Participants plan to gather at 10:00 AM local time along Keizersgracht Street and march to the Parliament building. Routes that are likely to be affected include the M4, Caledon Street, Parade Street, and Plein Street. The South African Federation of Trade Unions has organized the march over a range of economic grievances. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa has supported the rally, which is due to coincide with the Finance Minister’s budget speech to Parliament.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Cape Town should anticipate a heightened security force presence and associated disruption during Armed Forces Day celebrations. Associated demonstrations will occur on Sunrise Beach today, while a military parade is scheduled for tomorrow in the Table View Beach area. Both venues and a number of surrounding streets will remain closed for the duration of the events.
Tomorrow, travelers in Khartoum should avoid an anti-government protest as a precaution. Hundreds of participants are expected to gather at Souq al-Arabi and attempt to march towards the Presidential Palace at 1:00 PM local time, though security forces are likely to prevent them from reaching their destination. Additional demonstrations are possible in other parts of Khartoum state, including Khartoum North and Omdurman. While the scale of protests has declined in recent weeks, there remains credible potential for unrest, including the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition by security forces.
Normal travel to the country can resume amid a gradual decline in the scale of anti-government protests over the last several weeks. Although opposition groups continue to call for demonstrations, attendance levels have decreased, and security forces remain capable of dispersing crowds. Nonetheless, travelers in country should continue to monitor developments, exercise enhanced caution, and avoid all protests due to the potential for further unrest.
Tomorrow, travelers in Dhaka should expect heightened security and disruption during commemorations marking International Mother Language Day. Disruption should particularly be expected near Central Shaheed Minar, a monument dedicated to Bengali language activists killed during protests in 1952, where the major events will take place. Road closures will be enforced beginning at 6:00 PM local time today in and around and the University of Dhaka campus. Around 16,000 police officers will be deployed throughout Dhaka, including 6,000 at Central Shaheed Minar.
Today, travelers in Delhi should expect heightened security and associated disruption during a state visit by Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Measures include traffic restrictions across the city, particularly around the Central Secretariat, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official residence and the Saudi Arabian Embassy. Severe traffic congestion can be expected, especially during VIP movement. Routes likely to be affected include those around the aforementioned locations, as well as routes connecting Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) with central Delhi.
Passengers transiting Bangalore’s Kempegowda International Airport (BLR) in the coming days should anticipate disruption and reconfirm schedules prior to setting out. Airport authorities have said that the facility will be partially closed to commercial aviation traffic to facilitate the biennial Aero India aerospace exhibition. The five-day exhibition will take place through Sunday, February 24 at the Yelahanka Air Force Station, 13 miles north of Bangalore.
The Airport Authority Employees Union has postponed an indefinite strike scheduled to begin today against the privatization of six international airports. The action was called off following a militant attack in the Kashmir Valley that killed more than 40 paramilitary soldiers on February 14.
From February 26-27, travelers should expect significant disruption in and around Mumbai during a planned farmers’ rally. The march is due to begin in Nashik today and proceed along National Highway 160 before reaching Mumbai on February 27. While the protest is expected to pass off peacefully, travelers should avoid protest areas as a precaution and to minimize inconvenience.
Tomorrow, travelers in Jakarta should anticipate heightened security around a prayer gathering at the National Monument. The Munajat 212, co-organized by the Indonesian Ulema Council and the Islamic Defenders Front, will be staged that evening and is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of participants. Approximately 12,000 security force personnel will be deployed to secure the event, and traffic restrictions will be implemented in the vicinity, causing travel disruption, especially during the evening rush hour.
A significant increase in measles cases has been reported in some parts of the country, including Tokyo. Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus that spreads from person-to-person via infected droplets. Outbreaks occur frequently in undervaccinated populations. Common symptoms include fever, cough, and a characteristic rash. Measles can result in serious complications, particularly when very young children, the elderly or pregnant women are infected. All travelers should ensure that they are fully immunized against measles.
Today, travelers in Male should avoid an opposition protest at 8:30 PM local time in the Alimas Carnival area. The protest has been organized to denounce the arrest of former President Abdulla Yameen on February 18 over money laundering charges.
Today, travelers should plan journeys accounting for further disruption due to the passage of Tropical Cyclone Oma. The weather system is expected to pass northwest of the Belep Islands. Heavy rain and strong winds are liable to cause shortnotice disruption to flights, particularly at North province’s Malabou (PUV) and Koumac (KOC) airports.
Yesterday, authorities extended a State of Emergency in the Nelson-Tasman region of South Island by another week due to ongoing wildfires. Residents of wildfire-affected areas in Wakefield have been allowed to return, while access is still restricted to some of the impacted locations. All roads in Nelson, as well as State Highway 6 via Wakefield, are open. Flights are also operating normally at Nelson Airport (NSN). Travelers should continue to exercise caution and follow all official directives.
Today, passengers transiting Rome’s Ciampino Airport (CIA) should anticipate continued disruption after airport authorities announced that all flights scheduled for today would be moved to Rome-Fiumicino Airport (FCO). The operation at Ciampino Airport has been disrupted since a small fire broke out in the basement of the facility at 8:00 AM local time yesterday. Although the fire was quickly extinguished, the airport will remain closed today as it has yet to receive authorization to reopen from civil aviation authorities and local health officials.
Tomorrow, travelers in Catalonia should anticipate disruption and avoid all gatherings related to a general strike called by the Intersindical-CSC union over socio-economic and political grievances. In Barcelona, demonstrations are scheduled at the Plaza Universitat at 12:00 PM local time and at the Jardins de Salvador Espriu at 6:00 PM local time. Protests are also planned in Tarragona, Lleida, Girona, and Tortosa. The strike will have a significant impact on public transportation and taxi services.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Kiev should anticipate and avoid gatherings commemorating the “Euromaidan” protests in February 2014 that led to the ousting of then-President Viktor Yanukovych. Most events are likely to be scheduled for today, which is a day of commemoration for demonstrators killed in clashes with security forces during the protests, though rallies may also take place tomorrow. Gatherings and marches can be expected in central Kiev, including on Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Khreschatyk Street, Heavenly Hundred Alley and Instytutska Street.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has confirmed that two explosions occurred on February 18 close to its Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) headquarters in Donetsk. No casualties were sustained, though buildings in the area were damaged. The incidents highlight the persistent risks associated with travel to the buffer zone and ceasefire line between the Ukrainian government and armed separatist forces in Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. All travel to these provinces should be deferred as similar security incidents are likely during the Presidential Election period.
» Beginning August 21, 2019, Turkish Airlines (TK) will operate flights between Istanbul, Mexico City, and Cancun.
» The new route will be labeled TK181 and will operate from Istanbul’s New Airport (ISL) to Mexico City (MEX) and onward to Cancun (CUN).
» Flights will operate three times per week using Boeing’s new 787-9 aircraft.
» United Airlines (UA) will operate its Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft on six international routes beginning in March 2019.
» The aircraft will feature 44 United Polaris business class seats, 21 United Premium Plus seats, 54 Economy Plus seats, and 199 Economy seats.
» UA is the first North American airline to take delivery of Boeing’s newest aircraft.
» United will operate the Boeing 787-10 on flights from Newark (EWR) to Frankfurt (FRA), Tel Aviv (TLV), Paris (CDG), Barcelona (BCN), Brussels (BRU), and Dublin (DUB).
» British Airways’ (BA) World Traveller Plus services, which began last year on flights from Gatwick Airport (LGW), will see some new enhancements through the second quarter of 2019.
» World Traveller Plus offers passengers a larger entertainment screen as well as 6-way adjustable seats with leg, foot, and headrest.
» The service is available on select Boeing 777 aircraft and will be line-fitting on all Airbus A350s upon delivery later this year.
» The two main enhancements in 2019 will be a revised dining menu to feature a third main meal option and a bigger and better second meal to be served later in the flight.
» Updated soft goods, including amenity kits, quilts and pillows, will be coming to World Traveller Plus in the spring.
» Emirates (EK) recently announced changes to its checked baggage policy for certain Economy class fares; changes will take effect on February 4, 2019.
» Passengers who purchase Special Fares will be allowed baggage weighing no more than 15kg (33lbs); passengers traveling on Saver Fares will be allowed a bag weighing no more than 25kg (55lbs).
» First Class and Business Class allowances will remain unchanged, and Emirates Skywards members will still enjoy their extra baggage allowance.
» For EK flights to and from the Americas, as well as flights originating in Africa, checked luggage is measured by pieces rather than weight.
» Special and Saver Fare passengers will be allowed one piece of luggage weighing no more than 23kg (50lbs), while Economy Flex and Flex Plus ticket holders will be allowed two pieces of luggage, each weighing no more than 23 kg (50lbs).
» First Class and Business Class allowances will remain unchanged.
» United Airlines (UA) is now offering 100 channels of live television on seat back TVs for passengers flying on the airline’s Boeing 737 fleet.
» The new live TV channels complement the option to watch DIRECTV or the airline’s library of over 280 complimentary movies and streaming TV shows via the United App.