Bad weather in Texas causes flight cancellations, delays at airports, including Sacramento

Severe weather in Texas has forced officials at one of the nation’s largest airports to ground flights, affecting airline traffic between Sacramento and the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Areas of North Texas continued Tuesday to deal with severe storms, including thunderstorms and the chance for flash flooding, a day after a tornado wreaked havoc in Denton and Cooke counties, just north of the cities. At least seven people were killed, and at least 100 people were injured, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said. Rain totals from the storm had already tallied 3 inches in some locations while more than a half-million around the Metroplex were without power by noon Central time, according to officials.

Officials at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the second-busiest in the world by passenger volume, decided early Monday to hold flights for several hours amid the bad weather, sparking a cascade of cancellations and delays around the nation, including at Sacramento International Airport.

“With a strong storm in the area this morning passengers should check their flight status with their airline as delays are likely,” the airport said in a social media post. “Please use caution if traveling to/from the airport this morning with strong winds and rain impacting travel.”

Flights were also held back for a time at Love Field in Dallas.

According to flight-tracking website FlightAware, more than 200 flights into or out of DFW and DAL had been canceled by noon Pacific time with close to 450 flights delayed. The disruptions were about equally split between departures and arrivals, according to FlightAware. Several cancellations and delays also affected Houston’s two commercial airports: William Hobby and Bush Intercontinental.

Most of the disruptions were between two of the Dallas area’s biggest airlines: American and Southwest. According to FlightAware, the two airlines suffered the most cancellations and delays — as of 1 p.m. Pacific, American had tallied nearly 190 cancellations across the U.S. while Southwest had more than 260 flights put on hold. The cancellations accounted for roughly 6% of the airlines’ total flights for the day, according to FlightAware, and each airline had tallied more than 700 cancellations across their networks.

Debris surrounds a home in Valley View, Texas, on Sunday, May 26, 2024, after severe storms moved through Denton and Cooke counties. Severe weather continued to hamper the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Debris surrounds a home in Valley View, Texas, on Sunday, May 26, 2024, after severe storms moved through Denton and Cooke counties. Severe weather continued to hamper the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

That included flights out of Sacramento, where five flights out of SMF — three from Southwest and two from American — had been canceled and another 34 flights were delayed Monday, according to FlightAware. Twenty-two of the delayed flights were aboard Southwest, which has its flagship hub at Love Field. DFW, which is situated between Dallas and Fort Worth, is the home of American’s operations and is its largest hub.

Across all of California’s airports with commercial service, 66 flights had been canceled, according to FlightAware, while more than 400 flights had been held back. The most delays in the state were at San Francisco International, San Diego International and Los Angeles International, FlightAware reported.

According to FlightAware’s “Misery Map,” many of the flights called off in the Dallas and Houston areas triggered more delays at some of the nation’s busiest airports including Seattle-Tacoma, Denver and the New York area’s LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark airports.

Officials from both airlines did not immediately respond to questions about the disruptions. Airport officials at DFW were optimistic that the afternoon slate of flights would go on as scheduled. The flight board at Love Field, known as DAL, showed many flights were scheduled to depart later in the afternoon.

Travelers or family members with questions about disruptions were encouraged to visit the airlines’ websites or call customer service — American can be reached at 800-433-7300 and Southwest can be reached at 800-435-9792.