By Scott Mayerowitz
and David Warren
DALLAS: A winter storm system blamed for at least 10 fatal accidents in the West and Texas threatens to dampen the Thanksgiving holiday for millions of Americans traveling this week.
Nearly 300 American Airlines and American Eagle flights were canceled in and out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Monday due to the weather, spokeswoman Laura Masvidal said, mirroring disruptions at the air hub a day earlier. Some of the country’s busiest airports — New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston and Charlotte, N.C. — could see big delays.
Icy roads led to hundreds of accidents and at least 10 deaths, half of them in Texas.
Monday, the storm brought a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain to parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, southern Kansas and Texas. But as the storm continues east, there are fears of heavy rain along the busy Interstate 95 corridor and sleet, freezing rain and snow away from the coast and at higher elevations.
Tom Kines, a meteorologist with AccuWeather, said it will be “primarily a rain event” for the East Coast, with up to three inches of rain dousing travelers.
“The further inland you get — especially as you get into that higher terrain — you are going to deal with frozen precipitation,” Kines said.
Snow could fall in western Pennsylvania and the interior of New England. Up to 9 inches could blanket northern parts of West Virginia, where the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning from Tuesday morning through Wednesday afternoon.
Jeff Smidt is traveling Wednesday from his home in Toronto to visit his family in Andover, Mass., just outside Boston.
“My understanding is that I’m traveling at like the worst time ever,” he said.
Smidt tried to get on an earlier flight, but JetBlue told him it isn’t waiving any change fees yet.
“I’m just hoping I also don’t become a statistic during the holiday weekend,” he said. “Worst comes to worst, it will be an eight-hour trek down Interstate 90.”
Ninety percent of travelers this week will drive, according to AAA, and an estimated 38.9 million people — 1.6 percent fewer than last year — are expected to drive 50 miles or more from their home.
The car-lobbying group and travel agency says Wednesday will be the busiest travel day, a forecast based on a formula that factors in consumer confidence, stock market performance, unemployment and a survey of 418 people that has a 6 percent margin of error.