Blizzard To Snarl Holiday Weekend Travel Across US

Thursday, 20 Dec 2012 03:22 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Flight delays and dangerous driving conditions are predicted over the holiday weekend for much of the country, as a blizzard is expected to engulf the central region of the country and affect travel on both coasts.

For the remainder of this week and into the weekend, large swaths of the Midwest will see severe winds and heavy snow, affecting air travel and motorists alike.

According to AAA, more than 93 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday season this year, a 1.6 percent increase from 2011. Many who choose to fly will likely see their flights delayed or even canceled because of the storm, which will impact airports across the Midwest and western regions of the country Thursday and Friday.

The blizzard will blanket much of the region with snow, up to a foot in some areas, particularly in North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan and northern Illinois and Indiana.

Snow, however, isn’t the only concern for flyers. Severe winds between 50 and 60 miles per hour are expected for much of the central United States and parts of the Northeast. Though the storm's impact will be felt most in the Midwest, it will create a ripple-effect on other flights across the country say experts.

Motorists will likely encounter their own series of problems as snow, wind and near-freezing temperatures will result in icy road conditions, slowing traffic to a crawl in some areas. According to AccuWeather.com, some of the major highways likely to be impacted by the storm include: I-35, I-39, I-43, 1-70, I-75, I-80, I-90 and I-196.

In New England and other parts of the Northeast, strong south-to-southeasterly winds could bring coastal flooding problems, while in parts of upstate New York and Pennsylvania the winds could cause power outages due to downed power lines and cause further traffic delays.

Showers are expected this weekend along the West Coast, which will create lower visibility and more slippery roads in some parts of California and Oregon.

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