A Christmas Eve ‘Travel Nightmare’: Snow, Flooding, Maybe Tornadoes

Photo of author

By admin

A nasty winter storm slammed the eastern United States on Christmas Eve, pushing drivers off the roads and threatening to spoil the plans of holiday travelers and last-minute shoppers in a season already dampened by the coronavirus.

The snow and rain extended from Atlanta to Buffalo on Thursday. Forecasters issued warnings about an array of possible hazards — heavy snow, flooding, even tornadoes — from Tennessee to Maine.

The storm has already shown its ferocity, blanketing the Midwest on Wednesday and bringing more than eight inches of snow to Minneapolis. Blizzard conditions delayed hundreds of flights and turned roads into dangerous white sheets.

In Nebraska, police responded to more than 250 crashes or calls for help, including one with tragic results: a man, woman and child were killed when their car skidded over a median along Interstate 80 and into an oncoming semi truck; two other children in the car were also injured.

Other places are expected to be pummeled Thursday by a treacherous mix of rain and snow. Forecasters said parts of West Virginia could get more than an inch of rain during the day and then up to half a foot of snow in the evening.

“Combine that, and it’s kind of a travel nightmare,” said James Zvolensky, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, W.Va. “Things can get slippery pretty quick.”

Gusts of up to 65 miles per hour were expected to whip through New York City from late Thursday into Christmas morning, along with heavy rain, potentially knocking over trees and power lines. “Widespread power outages are expected,” the National Weather Service warned.

During a pandemic holiday season in which health experts have pleaded with the public not to travel, the brutal weather could be one more reason to stay home for Christmas. Even before noon on Thursday, scores of flights in the United States had been canceled.

Last weekend, despite the warnings, more than a million travelers a day passed through airport security, about half as many as last year.

In the South, temperatures dropped unusually low on Thursday, and some cities like Knoxville, Tenn., were preparing for their first significant Christmas snowfall in a decade. In Florida, temperatures are expected to plummet by more than 30 degrees as rain and wind moves into the state.

Tornadoes were also possible in Florida, Virginia and the Carolinas, forecasters said.

Source link

Leave a Comment