History, they say, has a way of repeating itself.
In 1969, when the Westminster Kennel Club dog show was held for the first time at Madison Square Garden IV, a major blizzard threatened to cripple the city and cancel the show. This year, as fanciers prepare to compete for the first time at the new daytime location at Piers 92/94 a major blizzard once again threatens to prevent exhibitors from traveling with their dogs to the Big Apple.
The major coastal storm is expected to dump up to a foot of snow on New York City this weekend, beginning late Friday night into Saturday afternoon. Long Island, home to two of the city’s major airports, LaGuardia and JFK, is expected to bear the brunt of the storm, with up to 20 inches on the ground by midday Saturday.
Many flights have already been canceled ahead of the storm, with Newark’s Liberty Airport reporting the largest number of cancellations. United Airlines, Delta Air Lines Inc., American Airlines and others have each reported from 100 to 900 canceled flights for Thursday and Friday.
Exhibitors flying into New York have already begun scrambling to find alternate flights from points west. Travelers who cannot find alternates flights can expect delays of up to several days, although they should be issued “weather waivers” to prevent additional charges.
Airport conditions and flight information may be monitored through Flight Tracker.
New England may experience blizzard conditions with anywhere from 1 to 3 feet of snow expected. Exhibitors driving into New York from New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut may want to get on the road by Thursday night or early Friday morning at the latest.
In New York, snow is expected to be heaviest through the evening hours on Friday, with wind gusts approaching 60 mph.
The metro area is still recovering from the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy where flood waters caused widespread devastation and power outages. Officials say they are preparing for the worst this time, and New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg has given assurances that plows and 250,000 tons of salt were being put on standby.
“We hope forecasts are exaggerating the amount of snow, but you never can tell,” he said.
Although dog show folk are a determined lot and not typically put off by weather predictions, there’s no telling how bad the conditions may get this weekend. Of course, it’s always best to err on the side of caution, and we encourage fanciers traveling from near and far to stay tuned to weather reports and adjust travel plans accordingly.
Everyone here at Best In Show Daily wants to see you and your dogs at Westminster again this year, so please take care to get to New York safely. It certainly looks like this year’s show promises to be one of historic proportions.