Wintry mess rolls East as big travel day looms

A major, fast-moving winter storm stalking the East is bringing freezing temperatures, snow and sleet Tuesday from the Appalachians to New England and is on track to create delays at major East Coast airports at peak Thanksgiving travel time.

The system is expected to produce heavy rain along the East Coast from Atlanta through Boston, with sleet and freezing rain farther inland, from the Mid-Atlantic and along most of the Appalachians.

As of late Monday, the National Weather Service had posted winter weather watches, advisories or warnings in 13 states from northern Georgia to northern Vermont.

Heavy snowfall is possible in western Pennsylvania, western New York and New England. Forecasters predict 5 to 8 inches of snow in Buffalo, more in the northern Adirondacks, and a winter storm watch was posted for central New York state with heavy rain expected in parts of the Hudson Valley.

Some severe weather, with hail, high winds, and even possible tornadoes, also could strike parts of northern Florida and coastal sections of the Carolinas on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center.

While moving quickly as it rolls out of the nation's midsection, the timing puts it smack on the East Coast as travelers head out for the holiday.

The stretch of wintry weather includes some of the country's busiest airports — New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston and Charlotte, N.C.

Some experts predict that this holiday will produce the busiest air travel since 2007, with Airlines for America, the industry's trade and lobbying group, expecting 2.42 million passengers flying on Wednesday.

In Washington, a forecast of light mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain followed by heavy rain prompted the NWS to issue a winter weather advisory for the northern and western suburbs of the nation's capital and Baltimore.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which sets leave policies for 300,000 federal workers in Washington, said that while government was open Tuesday, employees could take unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework.

The storm sprung out of the West and has been blamed for at least 11 deaths, half of them in Texas. It limped across Arkansas with a smattering of snow, sleet and freezing rain that didn't meet expectations.


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