Winter storm to snarl Thanksgiving travel on East Coast - KMSP-TV

Winter storm to snarl Thanksgiving travel on East Coast

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A major storm with heavy snow, rain and high winds will hit Thanksgiving travelers hard on Wednesday in the Northeast with ripple effects for flights elsewhere in the nation.

The timing of the storm could not come at a worst time with AAA projecting 43.4 million travelers during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

"The Wednesday before Thanksgiving will be the busiest single day of travel with 37 percent of travelers departing for trips Nov. 27," AAA stated in a press release.

A strengthening storm will unload windswept rain along the I-95 corridor during the day Wednesday, producing flooding in urban areas and poor visibility.

The worst of the rain will end by the evening from New York City to Richmond but will continue farther north from Hartford, to Boston and Portland, Maine. However, it may take considerable time before airlines can catch up.

A period of high winds Wednesday will not only add to flight delays from New York City to Boston but can also cause property damage, power outages and down trees.

The rain can end as a period of snow or flurries from central Virginia to eastern Pennsylvania and the Hudson Valley of New York.

Motorists and pedestrians should use caution Wednesday night. While gusty winds will allow some surfaces to dry off, falling temperatures could lead to icy spots on untreated areas.

Farther west, much of the precipitation that occurs Wednesday will be in the form of snow from West Virginia to western Pennsylvania, western New York, part of Ontario and southern Quebec. This includes the I-79, I-80 and I-90 corridors.

Motorists should expect very slow, slippery travel and possible road closures in this area, while some locations will receive a foot of snow or more. Flight delays are likely at Pittsburgh and Buffalo, N.Y., as well as smaller regional airports due to deicing operations, and some flights may be canceled.

As temperatures fall in this area during the afternoon and evening, any untreated wet and slushy areas will freeze, adding to the dangers for motorists, including along I-81. Where fresh snow has fallen, gusty winds will cause blowing and drifting snow in open areas.

During and after the Northeast storm pulls away Wednesday into Wednesday night, bands of heavy lake-effect snow will make for slippery travel and local whiteouts.

The lake-effect snow is most likely in portions of western and northern Michigan, northwestern Indiana, northeastern Ohio, upstate New York, western Pennsylvania, part of West Virginia and western Maryland.

There is a chance lake-effect snow briefly swings into part of Chicagoland Wednesday midday.

In the wake of the storm in the South, the return of cold air will be accompanied by gusty winds Wednesday.

Winds gusting in the vicinity of 40 mph into Wednesday evening can lead to flight delays from Atlanta to Charlotte, N.C., and Norfolk, Va.

Even though the weather will be improving in the South and will be fair over much of the balance of the nation Wednesday, any aircraft and crews delayed from the Northeast could have a negative impact on the timeliness of flights elsewhere into the Thanksgiving weekend.

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