Omicron, weather conspire to spoil travel across U.S.

Airlines canceled hundreds more flights Sunday, citing staffing problems tied to COVID-19, as the nation’s travel woes extended beyond Christmas, with no clear indication when normal schedules would resume.

More than 700 flights entering, leaving or flying within the U.S. were called off, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware. That figure was down from nearly 1,000 on Saturday. More than 50 flights were already canceled for Monday.

Delta, United and JetBlue have blamed the omicron variant of the coronavirus for staffing shortages that forced cancellations.

Meanwhile, snow and cold continue to blanket the western and northern United States, setting up hazardous post-Christmas travel conditions Sunday and into the final week of 2021.

Across the West, “travel will remain dangerous and is discouraged, especially along mountain passes where long duration closures are likely. Dangerous avalanches are also likely in the Sierra Nevada, Washington Cascades, Northern Rockies, and Wasatch,” the Weather Prediction Center said.

Bitter cold in the coming days will also impact states from Montana to Michigan. Meantime, unseasonable warmth will continue to toast the South as wildfire risk stretches across the central Plains.

Here’s the latest: