Travel delays to continue as pre-Thanksgiving storm aims at New England

A disruptive storm packing heavy rain, snow, ice and gusty winds will focus on New England, northern New York and the southern Atlantic coast into Wednesday afternoon. AccuWeather meteorologists say that vast improvement will expand over much of the eastern United States, ensuring dry weather for those traveling on Thanksgiving Day.

Early holiday travelers in New England will face slowdowns as the storm moves through the region. That storm has received a tremendous boost along the East Coast as moisture from the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico have collided.

The storm unleashed torrents of rain from Tuesday to Tuesday night -- enough to cause urban flooding along interstates 80, 81, 95 and other major highways across the region. A general 1.75 to 2.50 inches of rain poured down in about 18 hours along Interstate 95 from Virginia to New York City, which wiped out the rainfall deficit for November.

As the storm strengthened, winds gusted between 40 and 60 mph, which were strong enough to break tree limbs and trigger sporadic power outages. More than 30,000 utility customers in the mid-Atlantic were in the dark as of Wednesday morning, according to


The nastiest conditions in the Boston area, including heavy rain and gusty winds, will be into the early afternoon hours on Wednesday. Farther to the north, areas of rain, ice and snow will continue into the evening in some locations.

Farther to the north, it will be cold enough for snow or a wintry mix, and near the northern tier of the Northeast, precipitation will be all or mostly snow. The wintry conditions required aircraft departing from some regional airports to be de-iced, adding to the delays Tuesday night.

Motorists from northern Pennsylvania to interior Maine may encounter slippery roads. Many roads will likely be covered with snow over the higher elevations in northeastern New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and Hampshire and throughout much of central and northern Maine as the storm continues to track eastward on Wednesday.

Snow will pile up on the ski slopes over the interior Northeast just in time for the Thanksgiving break. Accumulations of 3 to 6 inches are forecast to fall on the Adirondacks and Green Mountains, while from 6 to 12 inches is forecast to accumulate from central New Hampshire to much of northwestern Maine, where there is an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 15 inches from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday.

Like most storms, this one will keep moving along, and conditions will begin to improve substantially Wednesday. A secondary storm will cause downpours and wet travel to linger in the zone from northern Florida to the Carolinas and southeastern Virginia into the afternoon.

Residual problems from Tuesday night's storm may linger in the mid-Atlantic throughout Wednesday morning long after the rain departs. However, as high water on area roads recedes and airlines recover, travel conditions will improve as the day progresses.

Farther west, motorists may encounter rain showers, possibly mixed with a dash of sleet or wet snow over the central Appalachians, but other than patches of wet roads, no significant wintry conditions are likely.

There is great news for those making the short trip to grandma's house on Thanksgiving Day in the Northeast and the Midwest. Aside from blustery and cold conditions in the Northeast with AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures in the 20s, 30s and 40s F, a dry day is in store for at least 250 million people in the eastern two-thirds of the nation.

Most areas east of the Rockies and High Plains should remain dry on Friday for those heading out seeking bargains at retail stores.

An exception to the dry weather will be in the Southeast, where a storm from the Gulf of Mexico will bring clouds and some rain.

Meanwhile, a storm will ride a blast of cold air southward over the Rockies with heavy snow. Airline delays and flight cancellations stemming from Denver are possible by the end of the week.

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