Snow storm delays also affect lives of Southwest Floridians

Dania Maxwell/Staff
A traveler checks departure information at Southwest Florida International Airport on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013 in Fort Myers, Fla. Many flights were canceled for travelers heading to areas of the Northeast and New England due to a winter storm.

Photo by DANIA MAXWELL // Buy this photo

Dania Maxwell/Staff A traveler checks departure information at Southwest Florida International Airport on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013 in Fort Myers, Fla. Many flights were canceled for travelers heading to areas of the Northeast and New England due to a winter storm.

Waiting in a Southwest Florida International Airport parking lot Sunday with the windows down and books in hand, it was difficult for Lynn and Bob Bird of Bonita Springs to imagine cold weather up north.

The couple has acted as a sort of hotel for east coast friends and family this past week, so the effects of the major Northeast snowstorm were real for them.

"We had guests who were supposed to leave this morning on JetBlue," Bob Bird on Sunday. "Their flight was canceled to Boston."

East coast crews worked Sunday to clear feet of snow clogging roadways in cities including Boston, where an estimated 24.9 inches fell, according to the National Weather Service. Widespread power outages in Massachusetts and Rhode Island persisted, and at least 11 deaths were being blamed on the storm.

As of Sunday afternoon, six out of 250 flights were cancelled Southwest Florida International Airport, said Vicki Moreland, airport spokeswoman. Four of the six were flights from Boston, one was a flight to Boston and one was a flight from Hartford, Conn. At least two late-night flights with JetBlue to Boston were still estimated to be on time as of Sunday afternoon, according to the airport's website.

After learning that their 6 a.m. flight to Boston had been cancelled, the Birds' guests rented a car for $150 and made the trek to Fort Lauderdale where a second JetBlue flight was set to depart from Florida's east coast to their destination.

"Now they're talking about ice storms," Lynn Bird said.

Around 10:30 a.m., she and her husband waited patiently in the airport's parking lot, hoping to hear from their second group of visitors who were flying in from Newark, N.J., and set to arrive shortly after 10 a.m.

"We'll be here for chapter two," Lynn Bird said, holding up her book.

Across the lot, Bea Slepchuk of Fort Myers sat waiting for her daughter to arrive on a flight from New Hampshire on a connecting flight through Washington, D.C., on down to Fort Myers on US Airways.

"I called her last night and said 'Are we gonna pick you up or what?'" Slepchuk said.

Having received confirmation, she showed up with her husband, flipping through department store ads to pass the time.

Jim Nick leaned against his van waiting for a fellow New Yorker and friend to land in Fort Myers.

Nick, a part-time Cape Coral resident, said his second home in Warwick, N.Y., saw 15 inches of snow over the weekend. The friend he was waiting to pick up had called him Saturday to tell him about all the damage control he was doing in his driveway.

"He lives right near me and he was plowing all the snow for me," Nick said. "I was teasing him."

Nick's phone rang about 10:45 a.m. after his friend's flight landed. There were no delays for Nick, whose friend had planned to fly out Sunday by chance and missed the brunt of the storm.

The article contains material from the Associated Press.

© 2013 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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