As a record number of Americans prepare to embark on their holiday travel plans, a massive storm is expected to disrupt travel for two-thirds of the nation.
Starting Tuesday, the system – stretching from the Midwest down to the South and up the East Coast – will be hit with heavy rain, thunderstorms and strong winds that will likely cause travel disasters on the roads and flight delays from the Great Lakes to the mid-Atlantic and New England.
“We worry about any kind of weather when it comes to holiday travel,” Weather Prediction Center meteorologist Brian Hurley said. “A lot of airports will be affected. It doesn’t look like we will have significant snow but with the rain and wind, delays are imminent.”
Heavy rain will start in the south and southeast Tuesday hitting Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Montgomery, Ala. Before heading north to the Ohio Valley and the Great Lakes to batter Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Detroit. On Christmas Eve, the storm will get stronger, hitting areas from Tampa to eastern North Carolina up to D.C., Philadelphia, and Boston.
“Especially on Christmas Eve, the rain is going to be heavy enough, and there is going to be wind so I’d think there will be some delays and a slower go than usual on the interstates,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said. “Certainly not the ideal travel day.”
Those dreaming of a white Christmas will likely be out of luck, except in Wisconsin and northern Michigan, Hurley said. Temperatures in the mid-Atlantic and northeast will be on the warm side, meaning the massive storm will only bring pouring rain.
Because of the improvements in the economy and lower gas prices – down nearly 80 cents from the same time last year – AAA is expecting 96.8 million Americans to travel 50 miles or more for Christmas. This is a 4% increase over last year and is the largest number in history.
Massive Storm Expected To Disrupt Holiday Travel For Two-Thirds of the U.S.