Holiday travelers to face delays as Christmas Eve storm eyes two dozen states

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Rain, Wind and Flood Threat Coming to Northeast


By Alex Sosnowski,

A storm bearing strong winds, torrential rain, snow, thunderstorms and fog will converge on the Northeast and Midwest on Christmas Eve and will likely create major travel delays, both on the roads and at airports.

The early stages of travel problems from patchy rain and fog will develop on Tuesday. The most widespread travel disruptions and the worst weather conditions in terms of windswept rain and travel-impairing snow will be centered on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve storm

Problems due to snow and wind will continue in the Upper Midwest and central Appalachians into Christmas Day.

Fog, Low Clouds to Reduce Visibility in Great Lakes and East

As warmer air surges northward with the rain, the risk of travel delays due to fog will increase.

According to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "Areas and episodes of fog can be a problem for travelers in the Midwest and Northeast spanning Tuesday into Wednesday night."

Christmas Eve Storm
Low ceilings and fog could lead to flight delays at times from Detroit and Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, New York City and Boston.

Drenching Rain to Raise Flooding Risk in Northeast

For many people traveling by ground and air, rain will be an inconvenience. However, enough rain can fall at times to cause poor visibility and increase the risk of hydroplaning for those traveling at highway speeds.

Excess water on the roads will reduce the braking action and increase the distance required between vehicles in an emergency situation.

Heavy rainfall in the Midwest will tend to be spotty, but as the storm moves northward on Christmas Eve, heavy rain will become widespread progressing through the mid-Atlantic and New England.

Christmas Eve storm

Enough rain can fall to cause urban and poor drainage flooding in the I-95 mid-Atlantic and southern New England corridor on Wednesday into Wednesday night.

Check the start and stop times of rain, including when the most intense rain will arrive, using AccuWeather MinuteCast® for your location.

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity, "We are concerned about rapidly melting snow, combined with heavy rain leading to a stream and river flooding situation in northern New England."

Strong Winds Could be a Snag for Airline Passengers

One of the most common causes of flight delays is strong winds, especially where they blow perpendicular to runways.

Gusty winds blowing from the south and east may lead to flight delays in the mid-Atlantic, New England and eastern Great Lakes region Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Increasing winds from the west and northwest may cause similar problems throughout the Midwest on Christmas Eve with the risk expanding to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Christmas Day.

The strongest winds are likely in New England late Wednesday into Thursday, when gusts could reach 60 mph along the coast and over mountains across the interior. Gusts could approach 40 mph around New York City Wednesday night.

Turbulence during and in the wake of the storm could be a problem on some flights.

Strong winds can also lead to coastal flooding from the coast of New Jersey all the way up the coast of Maine.

This can result in flooded roadways and properties located along the immediate coast.

Strong Thunderstorms May Affect the South

The storm system will become strong enough to produce drenching and gusty thunderstorms in the Deep South.

The strongest storms are likely to develop on Tuesday but will still affect the holiday season as travelers take to the road days in advance.

"The atmosphere will be primed for strong to severe thunderstorms along the Gulf Coast and in the Southeast on Tuesday," said AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Ben Noll.

Blinding rainfall and gusty winds will make for difficult driving conditions for any motorists caught out in these storms.

"While the most likely impact will be strong and damaging winds, a few tornadoes cannot be ruled out," added Noll.

The concern for these thunderstorms is greatest from eastern Louisiana and Mississippi to Florida and South Carolina.

Gusty storms will span the eastern seaboard once again on Wednesday but the threat will be much lower.

Snow to Create Hazardous Travel in Midwest

While much of the South, mid-Atlantic and New England will be spared travel problems from snow with this storm, significant travel delays and dangers will develop in the Midwest and perhaps the Appalachians from Christmas Eve through Christmas Day.

The greatest risk for snow-related delays will be across Michigan and through Illinois.

It is during the transition to colder air following rain, when the greatest dangers for travelers may develop farther south.

While not a huge amount of snow is forecast for the Ohio Valley states, the lower Great Lakes and central Appalachians with the storm itself, snow showers or a quick burst of snow could lead to a rapid covering of snow on the highways.

From parts of Indiana and lower Michigan to Ohio and Kentucky, motorists should be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions on Christmas Eve. This could occur during the day over the Midwest and toward evening around the central Appalachians as temperatures fall.

Check AccuWeather MinuteCast® for your location before heading out on the roads. It will show you the start and stop times of precipitation over the next two hours, and it will show you when rain will change over to snow.

Lake-effect snow showers are likely to follow in the wake of the storm on Christmas Day downwind of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and Lake Huron.


Christmas Eve Storms

Strong Winds Could be a Snag for Airline Passengers

One of the most common causes of flight delays is strong winds, especially where they blow perpendicular to runways.

Gusty winds blowing from the south and east may lead to flight delays in the mid-Atlantic, New England and eastern Great Lakes region Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Increasing winds from the west and northwest may cause similar problems throughout the Midwest on Christmas Eve with the risk expanding to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Christmas Day.

The strongest winds are likely in New England late Wednesday into Thursday, when gusts could reach 60 mph along the coast and over mountains across the interior. Gusts could approach 40 mph around New York City Wednesday night.

Turbulence during and in the wake of the storm could be a problem on some flights.

Strong winds can also lead to coastal flooding from the coast of New Jersey all the way up the coast of Maine.

This can result in flooded roadways and properties located along the immediate coast.

Strong Thunderstorms May Affect the South

The storm system will become strong enough to produce drenching and gusty thunderstorms in the Deep South.

The strongest storms are likely to develop on Tuesday but will still affect the holiday season as travelers take to the road days in advance.

"The atmosphere will be primed for strong to severe thunderstorms along the Gulf Coast and in the Southeast on Tuesday," said AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Ben Noll.

Blinding rainfall and gusty winds will make for difficult driving conditions for any motorists caught out in these storms.

"While the most likely impact will be strong and damaging winds, a few tornadoes cannot be ruled out," added Noll.

The concern for these thunderstorms is greatest from eastern Louisiana and Mississippi to Florida and South Carolina.

Gusty storms will span the eastern seaboard once again on Wednesday but the threat will be much lower.

Snow to Create Hazardous Travel in Midwest

While much of the South, mid-Atlantic and New England will be spared travel problems from snow with this storm, significant travel delays and dangers will develop in the Midwest and perhaps the Appalachians from Christmas Eve through Christmas Day.

The greatest risk for snow-related delays will be across Michigan and through Illinois.

It is during the transition to colder air following rain, when the greatest dangers for travelers may develop farther south.

While not a huge amount of snow is forecast for the Ohio Valley states, the lower Great Lakes and central Appalachians with the storm itself, snow showers or a quick burst of snow could lead to a rapid covering of snow on the highways.

From parts of Indiana and lower Michigan to Ohio and Kentucky, motorists should be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions on Christmas Eve. This could occur during the day over the Midwest and toward evening around the central Appalachians as temperatures fall.

Check AccuWeather MinuteCast® for your location before heading out on the roads. It will show you the start and stop times of precipitation over the next two hours, and it will show you when rain will change over to snow.

Lake-effect snow showers are likely to follow in the wake of the storm on Christmas Day downwind of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and Lake Huron.


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