A wintry blast of heavy rain, wind and snow across the US East Coast disrupted Thanksgiving travel plans on Wednesday for millions of Americans hitting the roads and taking to the skies on one of the busiest holiday travel days of the year.
At hubs such as New York’s LaGuardia and JFK airports, thousands of flights were delayed late into Wednesday evening and some 265 flights were cancelled in the region, according to the tracking website FlightAware.com.
The storm, which developed in the west over the weekend, caused at least 11 deaths, five of them in Texas.
But as it moved east, the storm proved to be , meteorologists said. “This is a fairly typical storm for this time of year,” said Chris Vaccaro of the National Weather Service.
“Obviously, it’s ill-timed because you have a lot of rain and snowfall in areas where people are trying to move around town or fly or drive out of town.”
Icy roads, high winds
While the travel delays were not as bad as many had feared, travel conditions were expected to worsen overnight Wednesday, with a combination of precipitation and rapidly falling temperatures resulting in slick roads, meteorologists warned.
About 39 million of the 43 million expected to travel over the weekend will be on the roads, the American Automobile Association said.
The giant character balloons in the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York may be grounded if winds there are too strong. City regulations prohibit flying the huge balloons when sustained winds top 23 miles per hour (37 km per hour), and gusts exceed 34 mph (55 kph).
Gusting winds toppled a tractor-trailer on an interstate highway in Virginia on Wednesday, slowing traffic that otherwise had been flowing briskly.