Snow, Rain Could Disrupt Christmas Travel

Blizzard on the Road
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Snow and rain could cause holiday travel disruptions across much of the United States.

According to the latest forecast from Accuweather, snow is set to hit the Rocky Mountains on Thursday, particularly in an area ranging from Wyoming and Colorado to Wisconsin and Michigan. The heaviest precipitation is likely to fall over the Wasatch Range in Utah and the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Wyoming, with accumulations of up to a foot possible. That’s good news for skiers, but it could mean slippery conditions on roads heading to major ski resorts, particularly interstates 25 and 70.

ABC News reports that another storm system in the south brought high winds overnight in eastern Texas, and is set to bring lightning, high winds and heavy rain to an area ranging from Louisiana to Tennessee. A flash flood watch is in effect for Wednesday morning in parts of northern Alabama and southern Tennessee, and the storm system is forecast to move into Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina Wednesday afternoon. In the west, a cold front is set to move into Southern California Wednesday, which could mean dangerously strong winds for the area of the Thomas wildfire that has devastated large portions of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

The foul weather could complicate what’s shaping up to be a busy holiday travel period. While Delta reports that operations have returned to normal at its Atlanta hub after this weekend’s power outage grounded 1,400 flights, a record number of travelers are set to take a holiday trip this year. AAA forecasts that 107.3 million people will travel overall, up 3.1 percent over last year and the ninth consecutive year of holiday travel growth. Of those, 6.4 million people will travel by air, a 4.1 percent increase and the fourth consecutive year of holiday air travel growth. Good to know: December 20 and 21 will be the busiest travel days this week.

Similarly, airline trade association Airlines for America (A4A) reports that 51 million passengers will fly globally, up 3.5 percent over last year.

Thus far no major airlines have issued change or cancellation waivers in response to these weather systems. We’ll post an update to as we learn more.

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