Heavy rain and high wind along the East Coast tied up air traffic for holiday travelers as the organizers of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade waited to decide whether the event’s trademark balloons will fly.
A storm system moving north from the Gulf of Mexico is expected to bring wind-blown rain today to cities including Boston and New York while dropping more than 6 inches (15 centimeters) of snow on the Appalachian Mountains and inland areas from Pennsylvania to New England.
Winds may gust to 60 miles per hour along the Massachusetts coast, according to the National Weather Service. Sustained winds of as much as 30 mph are expected in New York with gusts of 45, the agency said. That may mean difficult conditions for crews controlling balloons for tomorrow’s parade in Manhattan, said Rob Carolan, owner of Hometown Forecast Services Inc. in Nashua, New Hampshire.
“The decision on whether the giant balloons will join the lineup is made based on real-time, on-the-scene weather data, not via forecasts,” said Holly Thomas, a spokeswoman for the 87th Macy’s parade. “We are closely monitoring the weather as we do each year.”
The storm triggered winter storm warnings and advisories from Maine to Georgia as it roared north yesterday and prompted tornado watches for a large part of Florida, according to the weather service.
As of noon New York time yesterday, the storm had caused 2,502 flight delays, according to FlightStats Inc., a Portland, Oregon-based airline tracking company. About 96 flights had been canceled as of 3:20 a.m. today, said tracking service FlightAware.
A flood watch was issued yesterday for parts of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, the weather service said. Two to 4 inches of rain may fall.
“Parts of the Northeast will see the heaviest rain they have seen in many locations since early August,” Carolan said by telephone.
By Thanksgiving, the sun will be out in New York, Carolan said.
Cold air gripped the Northeast earlier this week as the storm advanced, sending spot wholesale electricity to an 11-week high on Nov. 25. Natural gas futures were up for a sixth day on predictions of colder weather.
Temperatures will be close to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 Celsius) in New York, Boston and along the East Coast today, then plummet after the system moves through, Tom Kines, a meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania, said in a phone interview.
“When the cold air comes in, it’s going to mean business,” Kines said. “Temperatures are probably going to drop below freezing pretty quickly.”
Areas that get a lot of rain may end up with quite a bit of ice, he said.
The heaviest snow is possible from southern Quebec through northern New England, western New York and into Pennsylvania, the weather service said. As much as 12 inches may fall in western Pennsylvania and 10 inches in northern New York, including Syracuse.
About 5 inches of snow may fall in Montreal and Quebec City, according to Environment Canada.
Kines said the ski resorts of northern New England will probably get enough snow from the storm to make them “happy.”
Temperatures across the eastern U.S. are expected to be seasonal from Dec. 1 to Dec. 5, while another blast of arctic air is forecast to grip the western part of the country from Dec. 6 to 10, said Matt Rogers, president of the Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.
Readings in the western U.S. and Canada are expected to fall 8 to 15 degrees below normal in that time frame, Rogers said.
MDA Weather Services predicts the colder air may come further east. Temperatures may end up 3 to 5 degrees below normal from Dec. 6 to 10 from Oregon to New England and south to Texas, according to MDA in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
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