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Monday, November 25, 2013

Storm Threatens to ‘Clobber’ Thanksgiving Travel Plans

A powerful storm blamed for at least 12 deaths in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and California since late last week is heading toward the East Coast, threatening to disrupt Thanksgiving holiday travel plans for motorists and travelers at some of the nation’s busiest airports.

Hundreds of flights have been canceled or delayed at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport since Sunday, when the storm produced freezing rain and blanketed parts of North Texas with snow, according to airport officials and FlightAware, a real-time, online global flight-tracking service. In Oklahoma, nearly 10 percent of the flights were canceled or delayed at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City after the storm dumped up to a foot of snow in parts of the state.

As the storm moves toward and up the East Coast on Tuesday and Wednesday, the National Weather Service is forecasting what it called a “complicated storm.” The storm is expected to produce heavy snow, rain, sleet and high winds, potentially creating havoc for motorists on major roads as well as for airport operations. Winds could be as high as 50 miles per hour at the three major New York City area airports on Wednesday.

Thanksgiving Day, however, is expected to be dry in the Northeast and the mid-Atlantic states.

Gary Szatkowski, the head meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s office in Mount Holly, N.J., posted the latest projections on Twitter for the Philadelphia and New Jersey area with the message, “We’re getting clobbered!”

In Maryland, the National Weather Service’s regional office projected heavy rain late Tuesday and the possibility of snow on Wednesday, to the west of Interstate 95.

The National Weather Service’s Southern Region noted that heavy rain was expected Tuesday in southeastern states. Some delays are expected at Florida airports.

The Washington Post’s Capital Gang Weather blog reports when conditions may be worst for different cities:

Atlanta to Raleigh: Tuesday morning into the afternoon (7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday)
Raleigh to Richmond: Tuesday afternoon and evening (1 to 7 p.m. Tuesday)
Richmond to Baltimore: Tuesday evening to very early Wednesday morning (7 p.m. Tues. to 1 a.m. Wed.)
Baltimore to New York City: early Wednesday morning (1 a.m. to 7 a.m.)
New York City to Boston: Wednesday morning (7 a.m. to noon)