Millions of travelers heading back from their Thanksgiving holiday could be caught up in a fast-moving winter storm making its way east from California to the Midwest and beyond.
The National Weather Service expects significant travel impacts across wide swaths of the U.S. this weekend as the storm is chased by a second weather system. Parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are under a winter storm watch starting Sunday morning.
Delays were starting to build Saturday at major airports including Denver, Minneapolis and Chicago's O'Hare International, according to the FlightAware website. More than 1,200 flights into, out of or within the U.S. has been delayed as of late morning.
"A powerful storm continues its eastward movement this weekend with heavy snow, powerful winds, and areas of wintry mix spreading across the Northern Tier," the weather service said in an advisory. Rain and thunderstorms, some severe, are expected farther south in the Lower Mississippi, Tennessee, and Ohio valleys.
Blizzard conditions are already impacting the High Plains and around Duluth, Minn., on the shores of Lake Superior. Widespread snowfall of 10 inches or more is likely, with as much as 20 inches or more in places.
Severe storms are also possible in the lower Mississippi Valley on Saturday, and the East Coast faces a nor'easter Sunday night into Monday.
The NWS predicted snowfall of 6 to 12 inches for much of New York's lower Hudson Valley, interior northeast New Jersey, and interior southern Connecticut from Sunday morning. Adjacent areas could have a wintry mix of precipitation starting Sunday afternoon. The weather service warned of an icing threat starting Sunday afternoon and continuing through much of Monday.
Some 55 million travelers were expected to make trips of 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving, according to AAA, a federation of motor clubs. That's the second-highest volume for the holiday since 2005.
The vast majority of holiday travelers drive to their destinations, and were helped this year by lower gas prices. But flights are also packed -- AAA said about 4.5 million Americans were expected to fly during the Thanksgiving holiday this year.
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