Thanksgiving Eve storm to cause travel havoc in East – USA TODAY

A potent winter storm is forecast to deliver a messy mix of snow, ice and rain for the East this week, potentially leading to a big headache for Thanksgiving travelers.

“This will be a significant East Coast storm with major impacts to air and road travel Wednesday,” said Weather Channel meteorologist Matt Sitkowski.

For fliers, it’s increasingly looking like an ugly day, according to meteorologist Nick Wiltgen, also of the Weather Channel. “Whether the major East Coast airports see rain or snow, travel is likely to be snarled,” he said.

There will be about 2.27 million air travelers on Wednesday, said Victoria Day, a spokeswoman with Airlines for America. As of Monday afternoon, airlines had not announced any changes of plans for travelers, but announcements could come Tuesday.

Though the precipitation will start as rain, AccuWeather says a changeover to snow is likely during the latter part of the storm for the big cities along Interstate 95 such as Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston. Roughly 1-3 inches of snow is forecast for the cities.

The millions of holiday travelers on the roads will have to deal with a rough trip, especially to the north and west of I-95:

All snow is currently forecast from the southern Appalachians northeast to western and northern New England, where 6-12 inches of snow could accumulate. The National Weather Service has posted Winter Storm Watches from northeastern Pennsylvania to central Massachusetts, including Albany, N.Y., Springfield, Mass., and Hartford, Conn.

“The storm should rapidly strengthen off the coast of New England on Wednesday night, leading to strong and gusty winds, especially near the coast. This would lead to some blowing and drifting of the snow, making travel on Wednesday night very difficult,” stated AccuWeather meteorologist Ben Noll.

Travel conditions will improve on Thanksgiving Day in the Northeast. However, some roads may still be snow-covered early in the day.

The rough weather forecast for Wednesday along the East Coast will be a stark contrast from Monday’s unusual warmth. Temperatures soared into the 70s as far north as New Jersey on Monday afternoon.

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