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Winter Weather Impacting Holiday Travel

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Winter weather is impacting the record-breaking number of Americans traveling this holiday season.

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In the Southeast, heavy rain and winds forced South Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to temporarily close Monday. However, the airport has since reopened.

According to Weather.com, soaking rain will also hamper travelers in Southern California this Christmas. The system is expected to bring several inches of snow to parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and the High Plains later this week.

Wintry precipitation is expected to reach parts of the Midwest by the weekend. Still, the forecast remains uncertain heading into the holidays with the East Coast also facing the potential for rain, snow or ice, any of which would further snarl busy roads and airports.

Flight-tracking website FlightAware.com reports 142 flight cancellations and 676 delays within, into or out of the U.S. as of 9:30 a.m. ET Tuesday.

Travelers are encouraged to check their flight status prior to arriving at the airport and leave themselves plenty of additional time if taking to the roads.

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U.S. State Department Stops Issuing Passports Amid COVID-19

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The U.S. Department of State has scaled back its Passport Agency operations and will no longer be issuing new passports in view of the situation surrounding the still-escalating COVID-19 pandemic.

Travel + Leisure pointed out that the release of this directive in late March coincided with the State Department’s issuance of a Level 4 travel advisory, which warns Americans to avoid all international travel and instructing those outside U.S. borders to return home immediately or risk being stranded abroad for an indefinite period of time.

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The Passport Divisions’ recent policy change mentioned that those who had already applied to obtain a new passport or renew an existing one prior to March 20, 2020, will not have their orders affected. The agency said that it would honor its commitment to fulfilling those expedited-service orders placed on or before March 19 within two to three weeks, door-to-door.

Moving forward, passports will be available only to persons facing qualifying life-or-death emergencies, such as serious illnesses, injuries or deaths in their immediate family, which require them to travel outside the United States within 72 hours’ time.

Such persons will need to not only provide their passport application and supporting documents, and proof of planned international travel (e.g. reservation, ticket or itinerary), but also proof of the life-or-death circumstance. This might include documents like a death certificate, a statement from a mortuary, or a signed letter from a hospital or medical professional, and must be translated into English.

To make an appointment at a passport center in the event of a life-or-death emergency, one must call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:00 a. m. and 5:00 p.m., or Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (EST); or call (202) 647-4000 outside of regular business hours.

No indication was given as to when the State Department would again begin accepting passport applications. As is now the case among most organizations that are attempting to respond to the continually evolving pandemic, its future plans remain up in the air. The announcement only stated, “The status of our operations may change quickly. We will update this notice as the status changes.”

For more information, visit travel.state.gov.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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