traindoc
Topic Author
Posts: 274
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:35 am

NYC Weather Delays 2012

Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:11 pm

I know that the winter in the NYC area was relatively benign this year. However, the delays, diversions, and cancellations due to rain and thunderstorms seems to be almost weekly over the last several months. How is 2012 compared to prior years in this regards? So far it appears that 2012 will be one of the worst (if not the worst) for "summer" type weather delays. I realize that summer is long from over weather wise.

Thanks.
 
nkops
Posts: 2159
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2005 10:09 am

RE: NYC Weather Delays 2012

Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:08 pm

It seems to be more hot and humid than it has in years recently, which of course is going to cause t-storms..

I do remember some really bad years in the past, and this ranks up there..... and we haven't even hit August yet.

I will refrain from comments on outdated ATC system  
:evil:
 
spacecadet
Posts: 2807
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2001 3:36 am

RE: NYC Weather Delays 2012

Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:50 pm

Not sure if there are statistics available for the current time period yet, but I live practically next to JFK and I don't feel like it's been particularly stormy this year. Most days in the summer in NYC, there will be a chance of storms late in the day due to cooler air overlapping with hot, humid air. So you can get storms pretty much every single day, and that's the way it is every year.

The main difference for me has been that the media now treats every single storm as some sort of life-changing major event. That didn't used to be the case. But as far as airport delays go, they basically have been shutting down the runways and airspace during thunderstorms for as long as we've known how dangerous they are, and that's always happened a couple times a week during summer, at least as long as I can remember.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
traindoc
Topic Author
Posts: 274
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:35 am

RE: NYC Weather Delays 2012

Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:57 pm

Thanks for the responses. I don't pay attention to the media, but follow the FAA website (ATCSCC) and also United's travel information page. Both of those sites have shown significant disruptions due to weather. It may also be that JFK has not been as hard hit as EWR.

Traindoc
 
Mir
Posts: 19108
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:55 am

RE: NYC Weather Delays 2012

Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:04 pm

Quoting spacecadet (Reply 2):
Not sure if there are statistics available for the current time period yet, but I live practically next to JFK and I don't feel like it's been particularly stormy this year.

I live in NYC and I'd agree with that. We've had a couple of bad storms, but on the whole I get the impression that this year has been relatively quiet.

Quoting traindoc (Reply 3):
It may also be that JFK has not been as hard hit as EWR.

EWR is almost always hit harder by weather than JFK.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
MSJYOP28Apilot
Posts: 288
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:09 am

RE: NYC Weather Delays 2012

Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:26 pm

The big issue is that EWR/LGA/JFK are close together and have closely spaced arrival and departure routes with heavy volume. The volume causes backups and congestion when storms cause aircraft to deviate and for arrival and departure fixes to close. To keep aircraft properly separated and sequenced, they need to establish a manageable flow into and out of the airport. This causes long taxi times, groundstops and ground delay programs. When things get really backed up, thats when you see holding and diversions. All this can happen without any of those airports receiving a drop of rain. It doesnt take much to throw the whole system off balance.
 
spacecadet
Posts: 2807
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2001 3:36 am

RE: NYC Weather Delays 2012

Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:56 am

I think if there's a difference now than in the past, it's that volume... there used to be more slack in the system such that a 10 or 20 minute ground stop at JFK might not have affected things much in, say, 1980. But now, that same duration ground stop would cause havoc. When you've already got 60 planes in line for takeoff, then a couple dozen more circling for landing (and building further during the delay), and you've got the same thing going on at LGA and EWR... that can make things seem worse than they used to be, for sure.

I'd be surprised if there was any difference between this year and last year, though. But between this year and some past decade, maybe, just because the delays wouldn't cascade so much due to lower volume.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
N62NA
Posts: 4011
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2003 1:05 am

RE: NYC Weather Delays 2012

Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:15 am

Quoting MSJYOP28Apilot (Reply 5):
The volume causes backups and congestion when storms cause aircraft to deviate and for arrival and departure fixes to close.

And yet there are many on here who claim that the airlines are not overscheduling and exceeding the capacity of the NYC airports (especially EWR).

Quoting spacecadet (Reply 6):
there used to be more slack in the system such that a 10 or 20 minute ground stop at JFK might not have affected things much in, say, 1980. But now, that same duration ground stop would cause havoc. When you've already got 60 planes in line for takeoff, then a couple dozen more circling for landing (and building further during the delay), and you've got the same thing going on at LGA and EWR... that can make things seem worse than they used to be, for sure.

Yep. Not only is there no slack, there are too many flights scheduled during certain times of the day such that the schedules are ridiculously padded (a 1.5 hour flight from EWR-ORD is scheduled at 3 hours for example).

The answer of course is less flights and larger aircraft, something that won't happen for at least the next 25 to 30 years as UA / DL / AA are in the process of a major expansion of their narrowbody fleets instead of reducing their narrowbody fleets and acquiring widebodies for domestic service.
 
corinthians
Posts: 292
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 5:54 pm

RE: NYC Weather Delays 2012

Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:08 am

Quoting spacecadet (Reply 2):
Not sure if there are statistics available for the current time period yet, but live practically next to JFK and I don't feel like it's been particularly stormy this year. Most days in the summer in NYC, there will be a chance of storms late in the day due to cooler air overlapping with hot, humid air. So you can get storms pretty much every single day, and that's the way it is every year.

I live in between JFK and LGA. I actually think this year has been a lot worse in terms of weather compared to the last few years. The last two weeks have been especially bad and I think we've had thunderstorms pretty much everyday.

Quoting spacecadet (Reply 2):
The main difference for me has been that the media now treats every single storm as some sort of life-changing major event. That didn't used to be the case. But as far as airport delays go, they basically have been shutting down the runways and airspace during thunderstorms for as long as we've known how dangerous they are, and that's always happened a couple times a week during summer, at least as long as I can remember.

I agree with you there, but then the severity of the thunderstorms this year has been a lot worse compared to last year and even the year before. When was the last time we had several weeks straight of 90+ degree weather? That's going to make for some really bad thunderstorms. The whole Northeast has been a mess this summer. I was looking at Fly.FAA.gov a few days last week and saw all the airports from BOS to IAD with red circles, meaning they were affected really bad because of thunderstorm related delays. It's going to be a long summer.
 
FrequentFlyKid
Posts: 1097
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2001 5:04 am

RE: NYC Weather Delays 2012

Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:05 am

The severity of a storm (usually) has very little bearing on the delays, etc. The duration, size, and path of the storm are much bigger issues. It is well documented and known that the New York airspace is tight and congested. Throw in a thunderstorm in the area and it's the proverbial recipe for trouble. Think about a run of the mill example: a line of thunderstorms running north to south from upstate New York down past the Washington area moving west to east. This cuts off the Lendy arrivals into JFK, the Milton arrivals into LGA, and the Williamsport arrivals into EWR. You now have dozens and dozens of flights either trying to outrun the storm to the north or south (but those arrivals corridors are already full) or entering holds as far east as Cleveland Center airspace. Depending on the length of the storm the flights continue to stack up and then, invariably, the storm hits the field which will stop all departures and arrivals. Once the storm clears the field and they start accepting arrivals again it's a mad dash for a slot. Well, with fuel being a finite resource something has to give and the diversions begin. Should come as no surprise to anyone and I don't think that this year is any worse than others in terms of thunderstorms or diversions, etc.

The one exception to this is that with the cost of tuel, airlines are not carrying the same amount of extra fuel as they did in the past. Certainly they're carrying enough to be safe, but not enough to hold for an hour or more and wait out the storm. I think because of that you are seeing slightly more diversions.