Rain, snow to snarl Thanksgiving travel along Eastern Seaboard

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Rain, snow to snarl Thanksgiving travel along Eastern Seaboard
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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)
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)

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)
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)
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)
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
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Snow drifted above many people's heads in Cheektowaga, New York, a southern suburb of Buffalo. (Anthony Quintano)
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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) -- Thanksgiving travelers scrambled to change their plans and beat a storm expected to bring snow, slush and rain to the crowded Washington-to-Boston corridor Wednesday on one of the busiest, most stressful days of the year.

Forecasters said major Northeast cities will probably see moderate to heavy rain most of the day, though New York and other places were also gearing up for several inches of snow.

Higher elevations west of the Interstate 95 corridor could see as much as 6 to 12 inches before the nor'easter exits Wednesday night, meteorologist Andrew Orrison said.

"I always go on Tuesday to try to avoid the Wednesday rush, but it seems like more people are leaving on Tuesday now," said Bill Fraser, a landscaper from Henniker, New Hampshire, who was taking a train from Boston to New Rochelle, New York, to visit his mother for Thanksgiving.

Jenna Bouffard, a New York City public relations executive headed in the opposite direction, changed her bus ticket from Wednesday to Tuesday.

"I don't want to risk it," she said. "I'd rather be safe than sorry, and if it doesn't snow, then I just have an extra day at home with my family" in Uxbridge, Massachusetts.

Major airlines dropped their ticket-change fees for people flying in and out of the Northeast, allowing passengers to try to sneak on an earlier flight, though that appeared to be a challenging proposition, since most planes were filled.

By midafternoon Tuesday, just 14 flights within the U.S. were canceled for Wednesday, according to tracking service FlightAware. That's well below the norm for even a sunny day. United said it was planning to cancel 100 flights Wednesday in and out of Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey - a small fraction of the traffic there. Delta planned to scrub 57 flights.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports, said it was lining up extra staff and snow removal equipment in the event of a heavy snowfall. Crews were prepared to work in 12-hour shifts if necessary, officials said.

At Newark Airport, retiree Sue Hansen, who lives in Roscoe, Illinois, arrived early on Tuesday to avoid the rush ahead of a big family reunion near Morristown, New Jersey.

"I've traveled the day before, and it was no good," she said, describing long lines, delays and lots of crowds. "This wasn't bad at all."

In Vermont, public safety officials warned that travel could be treacherous. Up to 16 inches of snow was forecast in some areas.

There was a bright spot in the forecast for residents of western New York, which last week saw up to 7 feet of snow.

"Buffalo will predominantly miss this event," Orrison said.

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Associated Press Writers Jill Colvin in Newark, N.J., Denise Lavoie in Boston, and Scott Mayerowitz and Karen Matthews in New York contributed to this report.

See more crazy snow from this season:

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Crazy wintery snow from fall 2014
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Rain, snow to snarl Thanksgiving travel along Eastern Seaboard
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
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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