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Most Disruptive Winter Storms of 2015-2016

The winter of 2015-2016 was officially the warmest and wettest on record according to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and NASA. But this winter did not go without any major storms. There were two storms that really stood out to FlightStats over this past winter season that had major impacts on travelers.

The first major storm to highlight was “Storm Jonas” starting on January 21 and lasting until January 24. FlightStats monitored 210,613 trips during Jonas with 47.3% experiencing some sort of disruption. This blizzard was classified as a category 5 winter storm. It brought an all-time snowfall records in Baltimore; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and JFK Airport in New York City, among others. It also brought along with it near hurricane force winds in New England, record 40 inches of snow in mid-atlantic states, and sea swells in excess of that of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey.

The second major storm we found particularly interesting was the late winter storm “Petros”. Petros spanned across five days from February 23-27. FlightStats monitored 321,631 trips during Petros with 13.67% experiencing some sort of disruption. This storm stretched across Texas through the mid-atlantic states. It brought as much as 17 inches of snow in places. But the biggest oddity was the amount of tornadoes it brought. Storm Petros spawned the second largest outbreak of tornadoes recorded in February producing 59 tornadoes in just five days.

You may be asking yourself “why were so many more trips disrupted by Jonas than Petros?” The main factor to take into consideration here is the category of each storm. Jonas, known as “The Blizzard of 2016”, was a Category 5 storm whereas Petros was Category 3. The other factor here is the geographic spread of the storms.  Jonas spread across the entire eastern half of the US compared to Petros covering Texas through the mid-atlantic states.  So, the reason more trips were affected by Jonas than Petros was due to the sheer fact that it was a much larger storm in all respects.


Trips are booked in advance and without knowing if a storm will impact the trip. But, it’s the TMCs responsibility to make sure they get their traveler from point A to point B with as little disruption as possible when storms do occur. Though our Trip Data Services offerings we are able to aid TMC’s with the proper tools to proactively re-accommodate their travelers during severe storms such as Jonas and Petros. Disruption management tools are a must-have for TMCs to be able to deliver on their service promises and also help achieve a positive return on investment.

Don’t fly blind into the storm any longer. Learn more today about how FlightStats Trip Data Services can help better equip your agents with the tools they need to proactively server their travelers.