Weather delays area travelers


Published: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 at 1:25 a.m.
A strong cold front expected to bring temperatures in the 20s by Thursday morning stranded some area airline passengers Monday afternoon.
Alachua County got some heavy rains late Monday night, but most of the severe weather stayed north of Gainesville on Monday.
But it was ice storms hundreds of miles away that affected some residents here.
Two flights leaving Gainesville on Monday afternoon going to Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., were canceled. Three arrivals, two from Charlotte and one from Atlanta, also were canceled.
The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory Monday for parts of western North Carolina, upstate South Carolina and northeast Georgia until 6 a.m. today. Freezing drizzle was predicted for those areas.
Sadie Akins of Hawthorne was stranded for a day in Charlotte as she tried to get home after attending a funeral in Philadelphia. Akins' flight home was supposed to leave Charlotte at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, but the plane was too icy, she said. She and other passengers waited for hours to see what would happen but finally went to a hotel around midnight - at their own expense.
Some people waited in the airport, she added.
"There were people everywhere," Akins said Monday afternoon as she waited for a ride home to Hawthorne.
On the way from the hotel to the Charlotte airport Monday morning, the cab Akins rode in was involved in an accident, she said. Nobody was hurt, but it made a bad day even worse.
Airline officials told the stranded passengers they would leave at 10:40 a.m. Monday, but that turned out to be more like 2 p.m., Akins said.
The same weather system that brought freezing rain and ice to parts of the South also brought the threat of severe weather.
Wind gusted to 55 mph in southern Alabama, and as much as 3 inches of rain fell in southeastern Alabama, the Florida Panhandle and southern Georgia, according to The Associated Press.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for areas of North Florida, including Taylor County, Monday morning.
The cold front slid through Alachua County, dumping significant rainfall as the night wore on.
The cold front means the warm temperatures North Florida has enjoyed for the past few days soon will be replaced by cold weather.
After a high temperature of 68 degrees today, a low of 32 is expected tonight and Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service in Jacksonville.
Highs will barely break into the 50s Wednesday, and lows are predicted to drop into the mid-20s Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
But we probably aren't in any danger of breaking any cold-weather records.
Kathy Ciotola can be reached at (352) 338-3109 or ciotolk@gvillesun.com.

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