East Coast storm snarls Thanksgiving travel

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East Coast storm snarls Thanksgiving travel
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WINDHAM, ME - NOVEMBER 26: Laurie Perham is dressed for the winter in her heavy coat as she cleans the freshly fallen snow from her car after work in Windham in preparation for the ride home to Naples as the snow storm intensifies in Windham areas. (Photo by Gordon Chibroski/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
A plane sits on the tarmac behind rain drops on a window at Logan International Airport in Boston, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014. Rain and snow rolled into the Northeast on Wednesday as millions of Americans made the big Thanksgiving getaway, grounding hundreds of flights and turning highways sloppy along the congested Washington-to-Boston corridor. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Thanksgiving holiday travelers make their way to departing trains at Penn Station, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, in New York. One of the busiest, most stressful travel days of the year posed special challenges in the crowded Washington-to-Boston corridor as travelers on their way to Thanksgiving celebrations contended with a nor'easter packing rain and snow. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Snow blankets the ground at Military Park, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, in Newark, N.J. The northern New Jersey region is expected to be hit by a snow storm, which will cause problems for those traveling ahead of the Thanksgiving Day holiday. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Airline passengers at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, DC, in Virginia, arrive to snow showers on the busiest travel day of the year November 26, 2014. Hundreds of flights were cancelled or delayed Wednesday in the US northeast as a winter storm delivered freezing rain and snow ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, one of the year's biggest travel weekends. A wintry mix was falling in Boston, Philadelphia, New York and Washington, according to the National Weather Service, which forecast 'havoc' for travelers along the east coast from the Carolinas up through New England. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
A cluster of westbound traffic, left, curves around Interstate 68 west of Hancock, Md., Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014. A sloppy mix of rain and snow rolled into the Northeast on Wednesday just as millions of Americans began the big Thanksgiving getaway, grounding hundreds of flights and turning highways hazardous along the congested Washington-to-Boston corridor. (AP Photo/The Herald-Mail, Kevin G. Gilbert)
Travelers wait in lines to check in at LaGuardia Airport in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. A nor'easter was expected to develop along the East Coast just as millions of travelers head to their Thanksgiving destinations, bringing mostly rain close to the coast, but heavier snow further inland. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A car sits in a snowbank after sliding off the road during an accident Wednesday Nov. 26, 2014 in Concord, N.H. The season's first major snowstorm is promising up to a foot of snow in some places, choking off holiday travel. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
People walk through falling snow at a rest stop on Interstate 95 Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, outside Baltimore, in Aberdeen, Md. One of the busiest, most stressful travel days of the year posed special challenges in the crowded Washington-to-Boston corridor as travelers on their way to Thanksgiving celebrations contended with a nor'easter packing rain and snow. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Travelers wait to board their flights at Miami International Airport in Miami, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. Thanksgiving travelers along the East Coast were heading out early because of a forecast calling for a nor'easter that will bring rain and snow. All the major U.S. airlines were closely monitoring the situation but have not yet canceled flights. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Travelers wait to claim their baggage at LaGuardia Airport in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. A nor'easter was expected to develop along the East Coast just as millions of travelers head to their Thanksgiving destinations, bringing mostly rain close to the coast, but heavier snow further inland. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Snow blankets the ground at Military Park, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, in Newark, N.J. The northern New Jersey region is expected to be hit by a snow storm, which will cause problems for those traveling ahead of the Thanksgiving Day holiday. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
People walk in snow at a rest stop on Interstate 95 Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, outside Baltimore, in Aberdeen, Md. One of the busiest, most stressful travel days of the year posed special challenges in the crowded Washington-to-Boston corridor as travelers on their way to Thanksgiving celebrations contended with a nor'easter packing rain and snow. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Snow blankets the ground at Military Park, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, in Newark, N.J. The northern New Jersey region is expected to be hit by a snow storm, which will cause problems for those traveling ahead of the Thanksgiving Day holiday. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

NOOA satellite loop taken on November 26, 2014 of a nor'easter moving up the East Coast of the U.S. Forecasters expect the storm to bring rain and snow to a large swathe of the Eastern Seaboard, disrupting holiday travel on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

Airline passengers at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, DC, in Virginia, arrive to snow showers on the busiest travel day of the year November 26, 2014. Hundreds of flights were cancelled or delayed Wednesday in the US northeast as a winter storm delivered freezing rain and snow ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, one of the year's biggest travel weekends. A wintry mix was falling in Boston, Philadelphia, New York and Washington, according to the National Weather Service, which forecast 'havoc' for travelers along the east coast from the Carolinas up through New England. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
A car travels along the highway as snow falls , Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014 in Concord, N.H. The season's first major snowstorm is promising up to a foot of snow in some places, slowing holiday travel. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
A pedestrian uses an umbrella as as he walks infront of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014. A mix of rain and snow is falling steadily around the Washington region as a winter weather advisory remains in effect on one of the busiest travel days of the year, and thousands of people attempt to reach their Thanksgiving destinations. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Ellicott Creek rages on Mill St. Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Amherst, N.Y. The creek has crested to flood stage Tuesday. Authorities on Tuesday kept an eye on rising creek levels a week after the region was hit by record-breaking lake-effect storms. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
BUFFALO, NY, UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 21: Roadside Snow view from a car on November 21, 2014 in Buffalo, New York as the death toll attributed to Buffalo snow rises to 13. A brutal blast of Arctic air triggered a lake-effect storm and snow in the states of New York, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick McPartland/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 19: In this handout provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from the GOES-East satellite, infrared image shows icy cold Canadian air settles over the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. bringing snow and bitter cold pictured at 12:30 UTC on November 19, 2014. The deep low pressure system is pushing polar air over the Eastern U.S. is centered over southeastern Canada. The storm has already dumped 5 feet of snow outside Buffalo, New York with more on the way. (Photo by NOAA/NASA GOES Project via Getty Images)
A vehicle blasts its way through a flooded Stony Road, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Lancaster, N.Y. Western New York has localized flooding from melting snow following last week's lake-effect snow. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
A truck servicing the oil field turns into traffic in snowy Williston, N.D., Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. A winter storm days before the Thanksgiving holiday resulted in snow and icy roads in the oil patch city. But in the frenetic pace of life in the oil patch, work continued despite adverse weather conditions. (AP Photo/Josh Wood)
A pickup truck towing a trailer drives into snowy Williston, N.D., Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2015. A winter storm days before the Thanksgiving holiday resulted in snow and icy roads in the oil patch city. But in the frenetic pace of life in the oil patch, work continued despite adverse weather conditions. (AP Photo/Josh Wood)
Rail travelers wait to board a train ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. A nor'easter was expected to develop along the East Coast just as millions of travelers head to their Thanksgiving destinations, bringing mostly rain close to the coast, but heavier snow further inland. The exact track and severity of the storm has meteorologists on alert. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Snow piles surround Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Snowed out in Buffalo, the Bills are heading to Detroit to play their "home" NFL football game against the New York Jets on Monday night, Nov. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
A dump truck unloads snow at the Central Terminal that was removed from south Buffalo after heavy lake-effect snowstorms, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Buffalo, N.Y. Western New York continues to dig out from the heavy snow dropped this week by lake-effect snowstorms. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
A sign marks the location of a snow-covered sewer drain and fire hydrant along McKinley Parkway in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 24, 2104. With temperatures approaching 60 degrees Monday, following more than 7 feet of snow in spots last week, the region was bracing for possible flooding. (AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson)
FILE -A front loader drives through a snowstorm along Union Road on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in West Seneca, N.Y. A new blast of lake-effect snow pounded Buffalo for a third day piling more misery on a city already buried by an epic, deadly snowfall that could leave some areas with nearly 8 feet of snow on the ground when it's all done. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
BUFFALO, NY, UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 22: A high loader works to clear snow along an avenue on November 22, 2014 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Patrick McPartland/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY, UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 22: A high loader works to clear snow along an avenue on November 22, 2014 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Patrick McPartland/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A front loader clears snow from Lake Avenue on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Western New York continues to dig out from the heavy snow dropped this week by lake-effect snowstorms. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
BUFFALO SNOW MELT: Officials rush to prevent flooding as temperatures climb. 'READ' more: http://t.co/DIUkXovJSi http://t.co/I52SGwNZt6
As #snow melts, #snowvember damage totals sure to rise http://t.co/qb2mMGMMmg via @BfloBizJimFink http://t.co/TQPo7HhE8J
A dump truck waits to dump snow that is being hauled from surrounding neighborhoods on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Western New York continues to dig out from the heavy snow dropped this week by lake-effect snowstorms. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Snow still covers part of Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Snowed out today at the stadium, the Bills are in Detroit to play their "home" NFL football game against the New York Jets on Monday night, Nov. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Workers clear snow from the field at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Snowed out today at the stadium, the Bills are in Detroit to play their "home" NFL football game against the New York Jets on Monday night, Nov. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Workers clear snow from the field at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Snowed out today at the stadium, the Bills are in Detroit to play their "home" NFL football game against the New York Jets on Monday night, Nov. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
John Eresian, left, of Exeter, N.H. and his daughter from San Francisco make their way through Grand Central Terminal to catch a train to Connecticut for the Thanksgiving holiday, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in New York. Some Thanksgiving travelers along the East Coast were heading out early because of a forecast calling for a nor'easter that will bring rain and snow. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Snow piles surround Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Snowed out in Buffalo, the Bills are heading to Detroit to play their "home" NFL football game against the New York Jets on Monday night, Nov. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Workers clear snow from Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Snowed out today at the stadium, the Bills are in Detroit to play their "home" NFL football game against the New York Jets on Monday night, Nov. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Shelly Hathaway shovels the roof of her house with her dog Chief on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Western New York continues to dig out from the heavy snow dropped by this week by lake-effect snowstorms. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
People clear snow from a house on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Western New York continues to dig out from the heavy snow dropped by this week by lake-effect snowstorms. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
A man jogs along a snowy street on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Western New York continues to dig out from the heavy snow dropped by this week by lake-effect snowstorms. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Workers clear snow from the field at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Snowed out today at the stadium, the Bills are in Detroit to play their "home" NFL football game against the New York Jets on Monday night, Nov. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Sen. Chuck Schumer talks with New York National Guard members on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. The National Guard is helping Western New York as it continues to dig out from the heavy snow dropped by this week by lake-effect snowstorms. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
A utility worker carries equipment past National Guard vehicles while working to retire power to a neighborhood on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Western New York continues to dig out from the heavy snow dropped by this week by lake-effect snowstorms. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Sen. Chuck Schumer, right, pours coffee for New York National Guard member Rapheal Ramos on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. The National Guard is helping Western New York as it continues to dig out from the heavy snow dropped by this week by lake-effect snowstorms. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Sen. Chuck Schumer, right, and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz talk with New York National Guard members on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. The National Guard is helping Western New York as it continues to dig out from the heavy snow dropped by this week by lake-effect snowstorms. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Crews with heavy machinery remove snow outside Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Snowed out in Buffalo, the Bills are heading to Detroit to play their "home" NFL football game against the New York Jets on Monday night, Nov. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
Jonah Baldwin and Charlie Wieder take a break from shoveling off a roof on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Western New York continues to dig out from the heavy snow dropped by this week by lake-effect snowstorms. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
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A worker watches as he flings snow off a roof in Orchard Park, N.Y. Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. A snowfall that brought huge drifts and closed roads is now a concern because roofs are collapsing under the heavy loads. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
Snow covers the seats and field at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Snowed out in Buffalo, the Bills are heading to Detroit to play their "home" NFL football game against the New York Jets on Monday night, Nov. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
Snow drifted above many people's heads in Cheektowaga, New York, a southern suburb of Buffalo. (Anthony Quintano)
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Jake Sojka, left, and his father Gregory Sojka, pose with photos from past floods as they stand alongside their flooded home on Main Street after Ellicott Creek crested its banks Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Bowmansville, N.Y. Western New York has flooding from melting snow following last week's snowstorms. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
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Shelly Hathaway shovels the roof of her house with her dog Chief on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Western New York continues to dig out from the heavy snow dropped by this week by lake-effect snowstorms. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
A man clears snow from a the roof of a house on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Western New York continues to dig out from the heavy snow dropped by this week by lake-effect snowstorms. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
A dog walks in deep snow on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Western New York continues to dig out from the heavy snow dropped by this week by lake-effect snowstorms. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Members of the Bowmansville Fire Department use a tractor to remove a stranded vehicle along Ellicott Creek, which crested at flood stage Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Bowmansville, N.Y. Western New York has flooding from melting snow following last week's snowstorms. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
A truck negotiates its way through a flooded Stony Road, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Lancaster, N.Y. Western New York has localized flooding from melting snow following last week's snowstorms. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
BUFFALO, NY, UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 21: A residents work to remove snow from the roof on November 21, 2014 in Buffalo, New York as the death toll attributed to Buffalo snow rises to 13. A brutal blast of Arctic air triggered a lake-effect storm and snow in the states of New York, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick McPartland/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) -- A sloppy mix of rain and snow rolled into the Northeast on Wednesday just as millions of Americans began the big Thanksgiving getaway, grounding hundreds of flights and turning highways hazardous along the congested Washington-to-Boston corridor.

By early afternoon, more than 600 flights had been canceled, the bulk of them in the Northeast, during what is typically one of the busiest travel periods of the year. Thousands of flight delays were also expected as the snow from the nor'easter piled up.

Some travelers tried to change their plans and catch earlier flights to beat the storm, and major airlines waived their re-booking fees. But most planes were already filled.

Numerous auto accidents were reported across the Northeast, where by midafternoon the line between rain and snow ran roughly along Interstate 95, the chief route between Washington and Boston.

Schools and businesses also closed in some areas, and state government offices let workers go home early.

Pat Green and her husband drove from Saugerties, New York, to the Albany airport for the first leg of their trip to San Francisco. She said the drive on the New York State Thruway was "a little hairy," but they made it, and their flight was on schedule so far.

"It was snowing so hard you couldn't see the car ahead of you," she said. "We slowed down so we were fine. We also give ourselves a lot of extra time."

Major Northeast cities were likely to see moderate to heavy rain most of the day, though New York could see 1 to 4 inches of snow, and its northern suburbs 6 to 8 inches, the National Weather Service said. Higher elevations west of the I-95 corridor could see as much as 6 to 12 inches.

Winter Storm Cato Will Create Travel Nightmare

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo activated the state's Emergency Operations Center and had 1,800 plow operators standing by to clear snow between New York City and Albany.

Dan Albert hoped to beat the snow as he, his wife and 15-year-old daughter refueled their SUV Wednesday morning along I-81 in Hagerstown, Maryland, about halfway between their Greensboro, North Carolina, home and their Thanksgiving destination in Mahwah, New Jersey.

"Traffic was fine last night, no problems at all, but today's going to be a real booger," Albert said. But he added: "Got to see the folks. We only get to see them once a year. Got to muscle through it, right?"

At a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike, tired families grabbed large cups of coffee and breakfasts of pizza and fried chicken before heading back to the slushy road.

Abdullah Masud, a lawyer who lives in Kuwait, was heading from Boston to Washington with a cousin.

"We were originally planning on leaving Wednesday morning, but when we heard about the snowstorm we changed our mind and left Tuesday night. But I don't think it made that much of a difference," he said, noting the heavy traffic.

By early afternoon, airlines had canceled more than 10 percent of their flights at Philadelphia, Newark Liberty and LaGuardia airports.

The wintry weather was not confined to the Northeast. An Alberta clipper left many highways in North and South Dakota slick, and a winter storm warning was issued for parts of Minnesota.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is often called the nation's busiest travel day of the year, but that's probably not true. A U.S. Transportation Department study based on 2001 figures found that when car trips are taken into account, Thanksgiving Day itself is a heavier travel day.

An estimated 41.3 million travelers are expected to hit the nation's highways between Wednesday and Sunday, a 4.3 percent increase over last year, said Robert Sinclair Jr. of AAA New York.

As for air travel, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving didn't even rank among the Top 10 busiest days of 2013, the Transportation Security Administration found.

The top airline travel day last year was the Sunday after Thanksgiving, with 2.2 million passengers. The Friday before Memorial Day was second at 2.1 million.

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Associated Press Writers Jill Colvin in Newark, New Jersey; David Dishneau in Hagerstown, Maryland; Michael Hill in Albany; and Scott Mayerowitz and Karen Matthews in New York contributed to this report.

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Crazy wintery snow from fall 2014
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East Coast storm snarls Thanksgiving travel
A tree in Middleton, Idaho. So many of our trees look like this! Today, more dense fog and freezing temps. High of 27. Yellow air quality. Photo: @KTVBChar We're on the air now! Join us on @ktvb7
Snow covers a street at daybreak Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in south Buffalo, N.Y. Buffalo-area officials are getting help from a neighboring county in their efforts to clear roads and provide emergency services during the snowstorm that has buried sections of western New York in more than 5 feet of snow. (AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson)
Pumpkins sit on porch covered in light snow in Denver early on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014. A powerful storm made up of the remnants of Typhoon Nuri moved into the intermountain West on Monday and has settled across the central part of the country, plunging temperatures below zero in some locations and dropping a light snow that has snarled traffic. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
John Smigel places an American flag next to the headstone of U.S. Army MSGT Robert W. Raiser who served in World War II at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Sheridan, Colo., on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. A powerful storm made up of the remnants of Typhoon Nuri has moved into the intermountain West, packing high winds and light snows for the region's residents to contend with during the work week. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
A jogger steps carefully across snow-covered street Wednesday morning Nov. 12, 2014 in Denver. A powerful storm made up of the remnants of Typhoon Nuri moved into the intermountain West on Monday and has settled across the central part of the country, plunging temperatures below zero in some locations and dropping a light snow that has snarled traffic. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Cole Baldock works to clear snow , Wednesday morning, Nov. 12, 2014, in Denver. A powerful storm made up of the remnants of Typhoon Nuri moved into the intermountain West on Monday and has settled across the central part of the country, plunging temperatures below zero in some locations and dropping a light snow that has snarled traffic. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
An unidentified man surveys the aftermath of an accident caused by slick roads on Interstate 84 near Bridal Veil, Ore., Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. While earlier snow forecasts for the Portland-Vancouver area didn't appear, heavy winds combined with sleet and snow slowed traffic through the Columbia River Gorge.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Snow covers roses as traffic moves by along Speer Boulevard as snow falls Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014, in Denver. A powerful storm made up of the remnants of Typhoon Nuri moved into the intermountain West on Monday and has settled across the central part of the country, plunging temperatures below zero in some locations and dropping a light snow that has snarled traffic. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
A high school graduation photo of Michael Brown sits on top of a snow-covered memorial Monday, Nov. 17, 2014, more than three months after the black teen was shot and killed by a white policeman in Ferguson, Mo. The shooting sparked weeks of violent protests and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declaring a state of emergency today as a grand jury deliberates on whether to charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the death. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
A band of storm clouds moves across Lake Erie and into Buffalo, N.Y., Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014. Parts of New York measured the season's first big snowfall in feet, rather than inches, on Tuesday as 3 feet of lake-effect snow blanketed the Buffalo area and forced the closure of a 132-mile stretch of the state Thruway. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
As icy cold Canadian air settled over the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. bringing snow and bitter cold, NOAA's GOES-East satellite captured this infrared view of what looks like a frozen blanket over the region. NOAA's GOES-East satellite provides visible and infrared images over the eastern U.S. and the Atlantic Ocean from its fixed orbit in space. In an infrared image taken on Nov. 18 at 12:30 UTC (7:30 a.m. EST), the cold air over the eastern and central U.S. appears to look like a blanket of white, but it's not all snow. Infrared data shows temperature, so although the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. appears to appear is if snow covers the ground, the blanket is in fact cold clouds. However, snow does lie under that blanket in the Upper Midwest, Ohio Valley, and Canada, where it will continue in those areas through Thursday, Nov. 20. To create the image, NASA/NOAA's GOES Project takes the cloud data from NOAA's GOES-East satellite and overlays it on a true-color image of land and ocean created by data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites. Together, those data created the entire picture of the storm and show its movement. After the storm system passes, the snow on the ground becomes visible. GOES satellites provide the kind of continuous monitoring necessary for intensive data analysis. Geostationary describes an orbit in which a satellite is always in the same position with respect to the rotating Earth. This allows GOES to hover continuously over one position on Earth's surface, appearing stationary. As a result, GOES provide a constant vigil for the atmospheric "triggers" for severe weather conditions such as tornadoes, flash floods, hail storms and hurricanes. Image credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project, Dennis Chesters
The scene from Transit Road, a NYSEG truck among those stuck in the #LakeEffect http://t.co/BCCGWcYChp
View of the wall of snow clouds coming into Buffalo http://t.co/rWuNL4OGEq
There is a wall of snow coming off the lake into #Buffalo. Hold your loved ones. #Snow #Weather @WKBW http://t.co/Z28bkOUb9D
Hey @JimCantore my wife is 5'7" I'd say we're at 4 feet in Lancaster, NY and still coming! http://t.co/7iUDaRpfTg
The scene from Transit Road, a NYSEG truck among those stuck in the #LakeEffect http://t.co/BCCGWcYChp
This snow doesn't scare me... 😎
NOAA's automated snow mapping system shows the snow cover across North America on November 18, 2014. 
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