February 2, 2023

Airlines Issue Travel Waivers, Alerts for California Amid Brutal Storms — What to Know If You’re Flying

California has been hit by a punishing combination of thunderstorms, snow, and wind, disrupting travel and forcing several airlines to issue waivers.

The poor weather has forced airlines to issue travel waivers for cities up and down the California coast. American Airlines, for example, issued two different travel advisories for both southern California as well as central and northern California. Similarly, United Airlines issued an advisory for several airports in the San Francisco area as well as for the Santa Barbara Airport, which posted on Facebook on Monday it had to close due to flooding. 

JetBlue issued a travel alert for northern California, covering San Francisco and Sacramento, as did Southwest Airlines, which has been recovering from a Christmas week meltdown in which thousands of flights were canceled.

Another weather system is expected to bring even more precipitation and snow to areas that have already been saturated, according to the National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center. In fact, nearly the entire state of California has seen above average rainfall totals over the past several weeks, resulting in “nearly saturated soils and increasingly high river levels.”

“Just as the last episode of heavy precipitation across California is beginning to wind down early this morning, another energetic low pressure system is quickly gathering strength off the West Coast and heading once again toward California,” the NWS wrote Tuesday. “In addition to being highly moisture-laden, this rapidly intensifying system is also packing some thunderstorms. The core of the system will slam onshore with moderate to heavy rain resuming across much of California today through tonight while several more feet of snow is possible along the Sierra Nevada.”

On Monday, President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for 17 counties in California, “resulting from successive and severe winter storms, flooding, and mudslides.”

Thousands of people have been told to evacuate the coastal community of Montecito, The New York Times reported.

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