So far, the deadly storms barreling into the mid-Atlantic and
Northeast have not resulted in many flight delays or cancellations,
but forecasters were expecting the weather to worsen throughout the
"The timing of the storm couldn't be worse," said Chris Vaccaro,
spokesman for the National Weather Service headquarters in Silver
Spring, Md. "We are seeing numerous threats as the storm is
beginning to develop and intensify."
Heavy rain and breezy conditions were to strike the East Coast from
the Carolinas to the Northeast on Wednesday, with ice and snow a
possibility in the Appalachians, western Pennsylvania and western
New York. Snow totals from the Ohio Valley to the interior of the
Northeast were expected to be less than 10 inches, the weather
The storm system, which developed in the West, has been blamed for
at least 11 deaths, half of them in Texas. It limped across Arkansas
with a smattering of snow, sleet and freezing rain that didn't meet
"It's just really cold. We had drizzle but no snow," said Courtney
O'Neal-Walden, an owner of the Dairyette diner on U.S. 270 in Mount
Ida, Ark. "You can see (ice) on the power lines, but the roads are
But even a weaker than expected storm system is potentially bad news
the day before Thanksgiving — the anticipated busiest travel day of
More than 43 million people are to travel over the long holiday
weekend, according to AAA. The overwhelming majority — about 39
million people — will be on the roads. But more than 3 million
people are expected to filter through airports, and the weather
could snarl takeoffs and landings at some of the busiest hubs on the
East Coast, including New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia,
Boston and Charlotte, N.C.
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Transportation officials advised travelers to check with their
airlines and reduce speed on highways. Travel experts suggested
airline passengers might be able to have penalty fees waived if they
wanted to change their bookings because of the weather.
Weather woes aside, there were some things for travelers to be happy
about this year. The Federal Aviation Administration last month
lifted restrictions on the use of most personal electronic devices
during takeoffs and landings, and some airlines, including American,
have already begun allowing passengers to stay powered up from gate
On the ground, gas prices are a little cheaper than a year earlier.
For car-less urbanites, Amtrak is adding more trains for the
holiday, and a new breed of express intercity bus was drawing more
passengers hoping to escape airport hassles without sacrificing
Jeff Smidt hoped to travel from his home in Toronto on Wednesday to
visit his family near Boston. He planned to drive if he could not
fly because of the weather.
"My understanding is that I'm traveling at like the worst time
ever," Smidt said. He tried to change his JetBlue reservation to get
on an earlier flight but was told the airline wasn't waiving any
change fees yet.
"Worst comes to worst, it will be an eight-hour trek down Interstate
90," he said.
Press; JASON KEYSER]
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