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Storm Brings White Christmas to Rockies; Soggy Weekend to U.S. Southeast

Thursday, 25 Dec 2014 07:41 PM

By Victoria Cavaliere

Dec 25 (Reuters) - A winter storm pushing across the Rockies on Thursday was expected to drop a foot of snow in some areas as it fanned eastward, threatening soggy conditions and potential weekend travel delays across a wide swath of the United States, forecasters said.

The storm was one of several predicted to produce snow, rain, fog and other treacherous conditions in the coming days as millions of travelers head home after the Christmas holiday, the National Weather Service said.

Residents in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado awoke to a white Christmas on Thursday, with 3 to 5 inches of snow expected to fall by early Friday in Salt Lake City and 4 to 6 inches possible for Denver. Accumulations of more than a foot of snow were forecast for higher elevations, according to the Weather Service.

As the storm tracks eastward, the Midwest is expected to see a light layer of snowfall, cold temperatures and messy road conditions, forecasters said. Heavy rain with possible flash floods were predicted for Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia, meteorologists said.

"For people traveling by ground or air across the Southeast portion of the country, rain and thunderstorms will be the inconvenience this weekend," AccuWeather meteorologist Brian Edwards said.

More than 98 million Americans were expected to journey 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holiday season, with nearly 6 million people traveling by air, according to the American Automobile Association.

A separate cold front descending on the Pacific Northwest from the north is expected to bring rain to western Washington state and Oregon on Saturday, with the Cascade Mountains due for a significant band of snow, Edwards said.

"This storm will usher in a very cold air mass as well, turning rain to snow at lower elevations on Saturday and Saturday night with rapidly increasing travel problems," he said.

The East Coast has been drying out after several days of soggy weather, as a storm system that swept the mid-Atlantic states and New York pushed out to the Atlantic, the National Weather Service said.

A band of Arctic air early next week will send temperatures plunging across the Western and central United States before heading east, promising a chilly New Year's Eve in New York and Washington, AccuWeather said.

The Arctic chill is expected to push temperatures in Las Vegas below freezing for the first time since December 2013, the weather forecaster said. (Reporting and writing by Victoria Cavaliere in Seattle; Editing by Steve Gorman and Mohammad Zargham)

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
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