Christmas Travel: Winter Storm Warnings in Northeast brings White Christmas and slick travel

National Weather Service weather map for Friday, December 22nd

By Kami Klein

Christmas is the most traveled part of the year with an estimated 107.3 million travelers nationwide from December 23rd to January 1st according to the American Automobile Association. Weather conditions play a major role in getting your family where you want to be.  This Christmas weekend getting to Grandma’s house will have some challenges with a winter storm system blowing across the United States bringing a variety of weather conditions.

If you are headed anywhere in the Northeast be prepared for delays from snow and ice which will make road travel difficult and most likely cause some flight delays.  On the plus side it’s perfect weather for Santa’s sleigh!

Winter storm warnings have been posted for parts of upstate New York and northern New England.  For the rest of New England, northern Pennsylvania, New York State and much of lower Michigan, a winter weather advisory has been issued.  

Heavy rainfall and flooding in the lower Mississippi and Tennessee valleys will last into early Saturday while,low humidity and offshore winds will continue to result in elevated-to-critical fire weather conditions across southern California through at least Monday. Dry air continues to be dominant in California.  

In the Central states, lingering snow may occur from the upper Mississippi Valley into the Great Lakes. Rain and thunderstorms will be possible for the middle/lower Mississippi Valley to central Texas with some freezing drizzle/freezing rain that may occur in parts of Oklahoma.  

The West will see a new weather system arriving that will bring snow and gusty winds to the northern Rockies and Northwest which will make poor driving conditions in some areas.  Rain showers will be possible along the Interstate 5 corridor from Seattle to Portland, Oregon.  

Flight delays will be possible for the following airports for Pre-Christmas travel:  

Atlanta, Cincinnati, Boston, Memphis, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston,  St. Louis.  Portland and Seattle. New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Denver will be most affected by weather delays on Saturday evening into Sunday.  Chicago O’Hare, Cleveland and Detroit  will be on the lookout for flight delays all day on Sunday (Christmas Eve)  

Be sure to stay tuned to your local weather stations for current weather conditions, be patient and have a safe and wonderful Christmas!  


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U.S. braces for winter storm as thousands remain without power in California

Portions of 13 states were under winter storm warnings on Monday morning as a powerful storm that was already being blamed for thousands of power outages was set to move east.

More than 143,000 customers in southern California were without power on Sunday, local utility companies reported, after high winds toppled trees and knocked over power lines.

As of Monday morning, Southern California Edison reported about 40,000 customers were still in the dark (down from 80,000 earlier on Sunday) and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said it had turned the lights back on for 51,000 of its 63,000 affected customers.

Other parts of the country were bracing for the arrival of snow and high winds.

The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings in parts of Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa, saying those areas could see between 8 and 13 inches of snow between tonight and Wednesday. The service called for wind gusts of up to 45 mph, which could blow snow and reduce visibility.

The broader winter storm warnings covered parts of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Residents in the warning areas should monitor local forecasts. The National Weather Service said some cities could receive 4 to 8 inches of snow, while higher elevations could see 1 to 2 feet.

The Weather Channel is referring to the impending storm as Winter Storm Kayla.

High wind warnings were issued for parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The service warned gusts of 70 to 75 mph were possible in some areas and could damage property.

Several areas already reported gusts far above those levels.

The National Weather Service said gusts reached 95 mph at San Augustin Pass near Las Cruces, New Mexico. In California, Malibu and Harrison Park saw gusts of 87 and 85 mph, respectively.

The wind gusts knocked down trees, in some cases blocking traffic.

The California Highway Patrol tweeted a downed tree temporarily blocked four lanes of the Ventura Freeway on Sunday. The agency also reported that snow shut down a stretch of Interstate 5 near Grapevine on early Monday morning, though the freeway later reopened.

The storm was complicating air travel, too.

According to flight monitoring website, 508 flights to or from Denver International Airport had been cancelled as of 11:45 a.m. ET on Monday.

Some 225 miles southwest of the airport, the National Weather Service reported Colorado’s Kebler Pass was hit with 23 inches of snow between Saturday night and Monday morning. Snowfall totals reached 16 inches near California’s Mammoth Lakes, located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, while other parts of the state received more than two inches of rain.

Winter Storm Echo’s Heavy Snow Shuts Down Flights, Closes Roads

Parts of eight Western states were under winter storm warnings on Tuesday morning as a powerful winter storm continued to travel across the United States.

The National Weather Service issued the warnings in Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska as Winter Storm Echo moved east.

Meteorologists warned the storm would bring more heavy snowfall and high wind gusts, and could spur hazardous travel conditions. It’s already dumped lots of snow in the states it passed.

The National Weather Service reported the storm brought 28.1 inches of snow to Bountiful, Utah, between 6 a.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. Tuesday, and more snow was expected to fall later Tuesday. About 26.3 inches were recorded near Atlanta, Idaho, and 23.3 inches were observed near Corbin, Montana. Double-digit totals were also seen in parts of Colorado and Wyoming.

In some cases, the snowfall totals were record.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that 6.9 inches of snow fell at the city’s airport Sunday, smashing the previous single-day record of 5.8 inches. The previous mark was set in 1922.

Winter Storm Echo was also snarling travel, including some significant developments.

The snow forced the cancellation of 315 flights to and from Denver International Airport on Tuesday, according to the flight monitoring website FlightAware. Another 212 were delayed.

In Wyoming, the state Department of Transportation shut down a roughly 108-mile eastbound stretch of Interstate 80 between Rock Springs and Rawlins due to “winter conditions.” The road was also closed in both directions between Cheyenne and Laramie, some 50 miles apart.

While the storm was no longer pummeling the West Coast, it certainly made an impact.

The storm’s highest recorded snowfall total was 33 inches in Willamette Pass, Oregon. Echo also deposited 20-plus inches in mountainous California and Nevada, and a foot in Jacob Lake, Arizona. The storm dropped rain on warmer areas, including 8.71 inches in parts of California.

That rain was being blamed for at least two deaths.

In California, CBS San Francisco reported that the parents of two young children died when their car rolled over multiple times and tumbled down an embankment off Interstate 580 on Saturday. Fire officials reportedly said the vehicle might have hydroplaned on slick roads there.