ComNet Attendance Hit by Storm

FRAMINGHAM (01/26/2000) - When snow hit Washington yesterday, it also made a dent in ComNet 2000 attendance. The expo and conference for communications and networking at the Washington Convention Center normally draws upwards of 50,000 attendees, according to show spokesman Bill McCaffrey. While attendance hasn't been tabulated yet, the impact of the storm was significant, according to show officials.

Problems continued this morning with flight cancellations and delays into Washington. United Airlines said early this morning that it had canceled its morning flights from Chicago O'Hare going into Reagan Airport. The Weather Channel reported that up to 17 inches of snow fell in the Washington area.

Rick Phillips, a public relations representative at MCI WorldCom Inc., was marooned in Atlanta and working from there by phone. Other exhibitor representatives who made it into Washington before the storm hit were doing customer and media briefings by phone from hotel suites and the exhibit hall.

McCaffrey said it remains to be seen whether attendance rebounds. He said he hopes that the many government information technology workers who are off because of federal office closures will use the day to attend the expo.

"Exhibitors seem to be taking it all in stride," McCaffrey said. "They realize there's not much they can do about it."

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