Nightly News   |  February 03, 2014

Heavy, Wet Snow Makes for Treacherous Travel

Hopeful passengers are settling in for extended delays, as flight disruptions are slated to cost $2.5 billion.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good evening. while the west coast goes begging for water of any kind, an incredible chain of storms is setting up from the rockies all wait out east. it starts tonight. 27 different states under a watch or warning or winter weather advisory . it stretches through this coming weekend, because this weather pattern affecting 84 million americans offers no break really. it is also now apparent this rough winter is having an equal and opposite impact on aspects of the american economy . we begin here tonight with nbc's ron mott.

>> reporter: this is the scene in every major airport in the northeast. travelers navigating long airport lines and a flurry of flight delays and cancellations on this monday. as yet another storm system targets the northeast and beyond. in philadelphia, wet snow turns driving treacherous. traffic woes spreading as far south as kentucky. frustrations are growing. in new york city , even snowplows got stuck.

>> yesterday, 50 degrees, i walk outside in shorts to go to the store. today, look at it, freezing.

>> reporter: it is piling up. already this winter, chicago has seen nearly 53 inches of snow. philadelphia, 37 plus. boston has recorded 33.5. more than 28 inches in new york. such weather not only makes travel a nightmare but it is hitting our pocketbooks too. just one storm system, the three-day polar vortex in january, put a $5 billion chill on the economy and that's not all. an estimated 60 million american households will see their heating bills jump 50%, a $4.5 billion hit. while flight costs another $2.5 million in flight for passengers for hotels and meals.

>> well over 100 million people frozen in place, unable to get out and spend money. that is then trickling down to the overall economy. we are going to be feeling that for another month or two months.

>> reporter: at airports in the northeast, hopeful passengers are settling in for extended delays, grabbing naps and playing cards.

>> my brother wanted to go to the super bowl . so it was all free. i can't complain about delays on my flight too much.

>> reporter: there were at least 1600 flight delays or cancellations here in the northeast alone today. one of those delays involved a plane carrying the seattle seahawks . they won the super bowl last night. they stopped for deicing in newark and flew to minneapolis to change crews and get refuel. they are back in seattle tonight.

>> where you don't want to be tonight, new york's laguardia.