Monday, December 24, 2012

Storms threaten more holiday travel chaos

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Traveling could be tricky in certain parts of the U.S., where blizzards and severe storms are expected to last through the evening on Christmas day. The Weather Channel's Paul Goodloe reports.

By Isolde Raftery and Ian Johnston, NBC News A major winter storm that dumped up to six feet of snow in the mountains of California was headed east Monday, raising the specter of yet more holiday travel chaos across much of the United States, forecasters warned.

The storm was cutting a path across the country as Americans make their way to and from holiday gatherings, smacking the Rocky Mountain states starting late Monday and eventually hitting New England late Thursday or Friday, reported.

Last week, snow and high winds disrupted thousands of flights from the Midwest through the Northeast.
“Unfortunately, this occurs not only during the Christmas holiday, but also in the peak travel period after Christmas Day in the South, Midwest, and East,” said.

“Travel will become treacherous Christmas Day and Christmas night from the High Plains of western Kansas and the Texas Panhandle eastward into Oklahoma, extreme north Texas, Arkansas, and into the mid-Mississippi Valley,” said.

“In the warm sector of the storm system ... severe thunderstorms with tornadoes, damaging winds, and hail will erupt across a swath of the Deep South on Christmas Day,” it added.

Storm warnings
The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings early Monday for parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Utah, Montana and Idaho.

According to the website, 82 flights had been canceled and 1,949 had been delayed across the U.S. as of 2:52 p.m. ET Monday. It was unclear how many of these problems were due to the weather. said heavy mountain snow was winding down over the Sierra Nevada after the storm, which it named “Euclid,” left behind "a whopping six feet ... in the higher elevations Saturday and Sunday.”
The Bitterroot, Teton, Wasatch and Rocky Mountains were next in line for snow, with up to 12 inches or more expected.

“Lower elevations will get in on the snow too, so beware of snow-covered roads around Salt Lake City,” said. “Euclid will lay down a blanket of fresh snow by Christmas morning into parts of the adjacent High Plains, including Denver.”

“Euclid will then become the next major weather system to affect the central and eastern states with snow and thunderstorms beginning Christmas Day,” it added.

Hundreds of flights hit again as winter weather continues

'Significant' flight delays
The bad weather will move east Wednesday and Thursday on a track from southern Illinois through central Indiana into northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan will see the heaviest [snowfall] totals in this phase of Euclid's journey,” said.

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According to estimates by AAA, 93 million Americans will venture at least 50 miles from home over the holidays. NBC's Gabe Gutierrez reports on the travel situation from one of the country's busiest airports in Atlanta.

“Expect wintry travel conditions to spread into the Ohio Valley by Wednesday morning.  Air delays in the region may be significant!” it added. “There may also be a narrow zone of sleet and freezing rain in parts of Indiana and Ohio sandwiched between the snow and rain.”

It said the “primary impacts” of the storm would arrive in the Northeast Wednesday into early Thursday.
Gusty winds and “widespread precipitation” were expected in the Northeast, said.

Snow was likely for an area including the eastern Great Lakes, northern Pennsylvania, upstate New York and northern New England.

The cities of the I-95 corridor and east to the coast were expected to get mainly rain, although some places could get brief periods of light snow or a “wintry mix.”

“Despite the ‘more wet than white’ forecast for the I-95 urban corridor, expect major delays at the major Northeast airport hubs Wednesday due to low cloud ceilings and strong winds,” warned. “These delays may persist into Thursday morning due to low clouds, wind, and potential changeover to light snow.” also warned that a developing storm system in the Deep South could bring “a plethora of weather hazards” to the central United States on Christmas Day. “Severe thunderstorms capable of damaging winds and tornadoes are possible for portions of the Lower Mississippi River Valley and southeast U.S.,” it said.

Rain and thunderstorms are expected to hit places like Jacksonville, Charlotte and Orlando Wednesday, said.

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