TRENDING NEWS: Wednesday Nov 26th, 2014
500 Flights Canceled Due to Weather
USA TODAY | Doyle Rice
A messy storm brought drenching rain and heavy, wet snow to the East on Wednesday, awful timing for one of the busiest travel days of the year.
As of midday Wednesday, nearly 600 flights had been canceled, according to FlightAware. Roads were slick and wet from rain or snow all the way from Florida to Maine.
"Travel is going to be difficult, but in some areas that have the heaviest snow, it may become next to impossible for a time," said David Robinson, a New Jersey state climatologist.
There was snow at the three New York City airports and in Philadelphia as of late morning, WeatherBug reported. There were three-hour delays in Newark and LaGuardia and 90-minute waits in Philadelphia.
Rain began to change to snow in Washington in the late morning, and there were numerous reports of thundersnow from Virginia to Pennsylvania.
Angela Marcantonini of Blue Bell, Pa., says the rumble of thunder accompanying a heavy snow is one of the strangest things she's ever heard.
"It caught me off guard. I didn't really think it was thunder at first," she said, describing it as a sustained boom, followed by two short bursts.
The weather service says thundersnow can happen when air rises rapidly, and the cooling and condensing produces lightning and thunder.
The storm will bring snow to the I-81 swath in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, I-84 in southeastern New York state and much of interior New England, where 6-12 inches of snow is forecast.
Winter storm warnings stretched from western North Carolina to the Canadian border in Maine. The greatest snowfall was expected for the higher elevations of New England, according to the National Weather Service.
As of 2 p.m., two locations in the mountains of West Virginia (Paw Paw and Romney) had picked up 18 inches of snow, according to CNN Weather and WUSA-TV.
Some travelers did not wait for the precipitation to start before heading for their holiday dinner tables.
"I don't want to risk it," said Jenna Bouffard, a New York City public relations executive who headed for her family home in Uxbridge, Mass., on Tuesday, a day earlier than planned. "I'd rather be safe than sorry, and if it doesn't snow, then I just have an extra day at home with my family."
Elsewhere, light snow fell Wednesday in the central Plains, where cities such as St. Louis, Minneapolis and Des Moines could see 1 to 3 inches. Heavier snow fell in the northern Rockies, mainly in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
In the East, the last of the snow will wind down Thanksgiving morning over parts of Maine, Weather Channel meteorologist Nick Wiltgen predicted.
In the wake of the storm, highs will be below average across the Northeast on Thanksgiving, Wiltgen said, but they should climb far enough above freezing to allow rapid improvement in road conditions.