Deadly winer storm will impact holiday travel

Storm will cause delays expected on busiest travel day

November 25, 2013

A deadly winter storm system is threatening plans for millions of Americans who will fly or drive somewhere for Thanksgiving- with some of the worst weather expected on Wednesday, the busiest travel day of the year.

Thanksgiving travelers may face obstacles as wet weather combines with subfreezing temperatures to bring snow, sleet and rain to the East Coast of the United States, the National Weather Service said on Monday.

Storms have already heaped up to a foot of snow on the mountains of Utah and Colorado and claimed 13 lives, including a 4 year-old girl who was killed in a rollover crash on an icy road in New Mexico.

“This is more of a January, February-type weather event,” National Weather Service meteorologist Dennis Cain told the Los Angeles Times, adding, “It’s not rare, but it’s not very common either.”

Now the weather pattern is picking up speed and heading for the Northeast, and the 43 million Americans who plan to travel for Thanksgiving are at risk. Rain and ice sweeping across the South will converge with a storm system pushing down from the Great Lakes.

Snowfall totals of up to 4 feet were recorded in the Four Corners area where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah share a border, USA Today said.

More than 300 flights were canceled, mostly due to ice, at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Sunday, spokeswoman Cynthia Vega said. The cancellation figure amounts to about a third of the scheduled departures.

Wet weather from the northern Gulf of Mexico is expected to dump 1 to 3 inches of rain on the South as it heads up the East Coast, the weather service said.

The storm is expected to move up the East Coast. But ahead of its arrival and arctic air mass brought freezing temperatures to much of the Northeast Sunday, with temperatures cold even by January standards.

Light snow and freezing rain is likely to start on Tuesday as the front moves northeastward and mixes with subfreezing temperatures in the mid-Atlantic and New England.

Up to 11,000 people were without power in parts of Texas over the weekend, the utilities said.

By Thanksgiving Day, the system will have moved out over the Atlantic Ocean.

The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the most heavily traveled in the United States. Some 39 million people are expected to hit the roads from Wednesday to Sunday, centering around Thanksgiving Day, travel group AAA said last week.

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