Powerful storm could make mincemeat of Thanksgiving travel plans

Nov. 26, 2013 at 10:01 AM
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NEW YORK, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- A deadly storm pushed east across the United States Tuesday, threatening flight cancellations on Thanksgiving Eve, one of the busiest travel days of the year.

Weather forecasters said high winds and low clouds likely will trigger delays at New York's three airports, as well as airports in Boston, Washington and Baltimore beginning Tuesday afternoon and lasting as long as 36 hours, NBC News reported.

The storm, which delayed hundreds of flights in Texas and killed at least 14 people, iced over portions of West Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina early Tuesday.

Portions of Pennsylvania and upstate New York could receive a possible 18 inches of snow by Wednesday, The Weather Channel said. The system was expected to bring a wintry mix of snow, ice, wind, and rain to the Northeast Tuesday afternoon.

"For anyone wanting to travel in these areas the day before Thanksgiving it will be pretty bad," meteorologist Kevin Roth said. "People need to take very, very extreme precautions -- tomorrow [Wednesday] is going to be a bad travel situation."

The system, which originated in California last week, brought winter weather across New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Kentucky. Weather forecasters said the system would merge with a system from the Great Lakes Tuesday.

AAA said about 43 million people are expected to travel in the United States before Thanksgiving, including 3.1 million fliers.

Canceled flights on already-packed planes could mean no seats available on later flights, CNN said.

"The issue they run into is if you cancel one flight, there may not be capacity on the later flights to accommodate all the displaced passengers," said Daniel Baker, who runs flight tracking website FlightAware.com.

Strong winds with gusts of 50-60 mph were forecast for New York City and Boston and their surrounding areas Tuesday night into Wednesday afternoon, NBC News said.

Thanksgiving Day was likely to be clear, except for some lingering lake-effect snow in Buffalo, N.Y., and Cleveland, Roth said.

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