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article imagePre-Thanksgiving travelers get taste of winter before dinner

By Nathan Salant     Nov 27, 2014 in Travel
Hagerstown - The winter of 2014-2015 is already one to remember for millions of U.S. residents living on the country's East Coast, and the season hasn't officially started yet.
Going to grandma's house for Thanksgiving dinner was never like this.
Heavy rain and snow are already accumulating across the Washington, D.C., New York and Boston areas, causing traffic tie-ups on major roadways and delays at Northeast airports.
"The storm in the Northeast continues to develop and is causing long delays and numerous cancellations at D.C., New York City and Philadelphia airports, along with trouble on the roadways, as snow increases in coverage," according to Cable News Network senior meteorologist Dave Hennen.
But the storm is moving quickly and is expected to be far offshore by Thursday morning, Hennen said.
Yet the weather still is expected to affect travel — and travel plans — for as many as 30 million people from North Carolina to Maine, CNN said.
"Roughly 30 miles west of Washington, Philadelphia, New York and Boston will see heavy snow while the cities themselves receive only light amounts," Hennen said.
New Hampshire Department of Safety spokesman Mike Todd tpld CNN that after traffic, power outages are the largest concern.
"This is New England; this is just another winter storm here, and the complication is just that it's the holiday weekend," Todd said.
"We caution individuals to drive carefully and slowly; consider staying put if you're concerned," he said.
Public safety officials in Pennsylvania said they planned to have state police and National Guard officers standing by at the state emergency operations center but cautioned residents to avoid driving if possible.
"The bottom line is: the less cars the better, the less traffic the better," said Cory Angell of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.
"If you don't have to go, you don't need to go -- It's important people realize there are hazards involved with travel," he said.
Hundreds of flights had been cancelled and thousands more delayed as of 9 p.m. Wednesday, CNN said, citing data from the website FlightAware.com.
"This is not a huge number of cancellations but, due to the holiday, flights will be more full and there will be fewer available seats to accommodate displaced passengers from canceled flights," FlightAware.com's Daniel Baker told CNN.
Baker suggested that travelers rebook their flights for Thursday, CNN said.
Driving is again expected to be the choice of most Thanksgiving travelers, with AAA predicting that 90 percent of the 50 million Americans expected to travel 50 miles or more over the holidays will do so by car.
CNN also cautioned drivers to consult weather forecasts before they leave and to remember to check their cars' tire pressure, batteries and windshield wipers.
But even if holiday travelers do find snow on the ground during their holiday journeys, they can rest assured that winter doesn't actually begin for real until Dec. 21, CNN said.
More about Thanksgiving, Wednesday, Thursday, Snow, Rain
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