Two major winter storms thrashing the western two-thirds of the United States on Wednesday appear set to disrupt the Thanksgiving travel plans of Americans using jam-packed highways and airplanes.
The first storm front was moving across the upper Midwest, where it was forecast to clobber parts of Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota with almost 30 cm of snow and winds of up to 80 km/h, making travel difficult if not impossible, the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) said.
It also warned of possible winds of up to 95 km/h and rainstorms across a wide swath of the central U.S. from western Texas up through Missouri and into Ohio on Wednesday.
The treacherous weather jeopardized travel plans for some of the 55 million Americans expected to fly or drive at least 80 km from their homes for Thursday’s holiday, according to the American Automobile Association.
“It’s a real bummer,” said Ally Lytle, a 20-year-old student at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, who will be unable to make the 645-km road trip home to Jackson Hole after the storm swept through the area on Tuesday.
The storm had already closed highways across the region, and cancelled and delayed hundreds of flights in and out of Denver on Tuesday.
Winds of more than 65 km/h on the East Coast on Thursday may also ground the giant balloons featured during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, the weather service said in an advisory.
“Look, I know this weather means people won’t get to see their families, might be stranded in airports, etc, and all of that is awful,” said Susan Arendt on Twitter. “But I’ll be really sad if the wind means no balloons in the Macy’s parade.”
A powerful storm will shift from the Central Plains into the upper Midwest Wednesday with a swath of heavy snow and damaging to the south of the storm track. The Western U.S. is also being impacted by a powerful storm. Heavy mountain snow and strong winds will continue Wednesday. <a href=”https://t.co/y96pHoESsj”>pic.twitter.com/y96pHoESsj</a>
The second storm was rapidly intensifying as it pushed toward Oregon and northern California, where damaging winds, coastal flooding and heavy mountain snows of up to 120 cm were forecast, the NWS said.
The front was also expected to dump heavy rain, threatening flash floods across southern California, from San Diego to Los Angeles, the weather service said.