Major delays at SFO amid high winds, FAA ground stop order


San Francisco International Airport saw cascading delays and flight cancellations Tuesday after fierce winds forced a temporary halt to all flights and an ongoing ground delay order from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The airport is expected to see severe delays through the evening. As of Tuesday at 4:30 pm, 401 flights have been delayed – over 37% of air traffic – and 118 flights into or out of the airport are canceled, according to the airline tracking service Flight Aware.

Many flights are seeing multi-hour holds, with the average delay at 155 minutes, according to the FAA. Airports in Oakland and San Jose are not reporting any major delays as of Tuesday afternoon.

Doug Yakel, an SFO spokesperson, said the airport had to adjust takeoff and landing strips on Tuesday to account for southeasterly winds that have gusted up to 74 miles per hour.

“For us (the winds) are normally out of the northwest,” said Yakel. “We’ve had to do a 180 in terms of how we’re taking off and landing.”

Yakel is advising travelers to sign up for flight alerts through their airline as their travel plans might be upended by the atmospheric river storm.

Along with air travel, the weather has slowed commutes on highways and public transit around the Bay Area.

On the Richmond-San Rafael bridge, a big-rig truck tipped closing all lanes of eastbound traffic. Traffic is being diverted in the area as of Tuesday afternoon with no estimated reopening for the bridge span.

“Given that it’s a high-profile vehicle, it’s definitely a possibility that (the wind) contributed to it,” said Darell Horner, CHP spokesperson for the Marin District. There is no estimated time for reopening the two eastbound lanes.

Caltrain is reporting “major delays” due to more than 16 downed trees on its tracks. In Richmond, a tree fell on a BART train causing delays.


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