The busy summer travel period has partially eased in Atlanta with many schools back in session. But the aftereffects of those disruptions bled into the travel rush at the start of the week.
Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, which has its largest hub at Hartsfield-Jackson, canceled more flights Sunday and Monday than any other airline, according to FlightAware. That includes more than 300 Delta flights canceled Sunday and more than 355 Delta flights canceled Monday.
Delta said it is “focused on safely resetting our operation following three rounds of disruptive thunderstorms at our hometown hub yesterday. We apologize to our customers who may have been delayed given the storms’ impact yesterday.”
Ground stops, which temporarily halt incoming flights, were put in place by air traffic control Sunday and Monday during the storms. Departure delays reached nearly two hours at one point.
Airport officials said the weather affected flight operations across the Southeast.
Storms on Sunday evening caused trees to fall on houses in multiple areas, including Carroll, Douglas and Paulding counties, Channel 2 Action News reported.
Though metro Atlanta’s weather Monday morning was mostly clear, the area wasunder a Level 3 of 5 risk for severe weather with the main concern being damaging wind gusts up to 60 mph, according to Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brian Monahan.
Severe weather was predicted late Monday with a severe thunderstorm watch in effect until 7 p.m. The stormy weather was blowing in from the north behind a cold front — a rare occurrence for this time of year, according to Monahan.
The cooler air was clashing with Georgia’s summertime heat, putting the state’s northern half under the enhanced Level 3 risk, while areas farther north were under a moderate Level 4. The highest risk level, reserved for days with high confidence of widespread and violent severe weather, is a Level 5.
Since 2014, Monahan said, there have been only nine other times that North Georgia has seen a Level 3 risk for severe weather within the months of June, July or August.
”That is very unusual for this time of year,” he said of the threat.
Storms should clear out by around 11 p.m. Monday, making for partly to mostly cloudy skies Tuesday morning, Monahan said. Rain will be a factor later in the afternoon, but the severe weather threat is expected to stay low.