The weather was frightful in parts of the country on Saturday, but Santa and other holiday travelers can look forward to more tranquil conditions for this upcoming week.
"The country is pretty much in the clear Tuesday through Friday," says National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Korty. "People who are traveling shouldn't have significant issues."
On Saturday, there was a wide range of extreme weather conditions across the U.S., including heavy snow, high winds and freezing rains in different areas.
There is a "complex winter storm" that is very slowly moving East, says Jack Boston, a senior meteorologist for AccuWeather. That front will "crawl along" — producing heavy rains and some snow — and likely remain on the East Coast until Monday night, he says.
After it clears, it will be cold in some areas, but "pretty quiet" and "uneventful" for most of the country for Wednesday's Christmas Day, Boston says.
Korty also expects a "pretty good" holiday weather environment.
"There shouldn't be any significant storms" on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to dampen holiday cheer, he says.
Saturday's harsh weather arrived as folks across the country hopped into cars and onto planes for holiday-related travel. About 95 million Americans are slated to travel at least 50 miles from home between Saturday and Jan. 1, according to AAA estimates. Nearly 86 million will make the trek by car and close to 6 million will go by air.
Many last-minute gift-buyers also endured cold, wet conditions to hit the malls and outlets. The Saturday before Christmas is traditionally the biggest spending day behind Black Friday, according to shopper analytics firm ShopperTrak.
But shoppers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region got a pleasant holiday gift: spring-like weather. New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., were among the areas that had unseasonably warm weather.
Some businesses took advantage of the balmy conditions to attract folks to their holiday sales and other attractions. For instance, the Peddler's Village shopping area in Bucks County, Pa., sent out this tweet Saturday: "Perfect #holidayshopping weather at #PeddlersVillage."
But businesses that have outposts in the harsh weather areas are still likely to ring up sales, says Evan Gold, senior vice president of client services at Planalytic, a consulting firm that analyzes the effect of weather on consumer demand.
"You're going to see a huge increase in online shopping," in the areas where folks can't make it out to the stores. "There are some sites and even some major stores that will still guarantee delivery by Christmas."