US Christmas travel: Snow to coat Northeast, storm to disrupt travel across West

By Renee Duff for

Areas of rain and snow will cause tricky Christmas travel for some across the nation late this week.

A record-breaking 103 million Americans are expected to travel from Dec. 23 to Jan. 2, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).

Snow may slick roads across parts of Northeast

A fast-moving storm will spread light snow and rain across part of the Northeast on Thursday.

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Dan Glisczinski makes his way to an appointment by bicycle following a snowfall in Duluth, Minnesota November 10, 2014. An arctic blast began to dump heavy snow in parts of the northern Rockies, Plains and the Great Lakes regions on Monday and meteorologists said temperatures are expected to plummet throughout the United States. In Minnesota, police said dozens of car crashes marked the season's first snow as drivers struggled with slippery roads.REUTERS/Robert King/Duluth News-Tribune (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT)
Horses in snow, Sun Mountain Lodge, near Winthrop, Eastern Washington
ASPEN, CO - DECEMBER 20: Atmosphere at The 2013 World Snow Polo Championship on December 20, 2013 in Aspen, Colorado. (Photo by Jason Bahr/Getty Images for The St. Regis Aspen Resort)
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Ski Lift Line. (Photo by Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)
 This is a shot of Mount Rainier from Paradise during a early winter snow covering.

"Any precipitation in the Northeast will generally be along and north of Interstate 80," AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson said.

The greatest threat for a couple inches of snow to accumulate and cause slick roadways will be from upstate New York to Maine.

Spotty showers could reach part of the coast, mainly north of New York City.

"Ground and air travel along the East Coast look better on Friday with dry weather up and down the I-95 corridor," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said.

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Rain, snow to disrupt travel across West

One storm will move across Southern California and the Four Corners region with areas of rain on Thursday. Another area of rain and snow will push inland across the Pacific Northwest.

Motorists will need to be wary for the threat of ice at the onset of the storm across central and northern New Mexico, northeastern Arizona and southwestern Colorado.

A major storm will then take shape farther to the west on Friday.

Heavy rain and rapidly falling snow levels are in store from Oregon to California on Friday. The treacherous travel conditions will expand across the Four Corners region on Saturday.

RELATED: 10 of the biggest snowstorms in history

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10. The Knickerbocker Storm of 1922

View of a car buried in snow during the so-called Knickerbocker Storm, a blizzard that dropped 28 inches of snow on Washington DC, January 28, 1922. The storm, which also affected a large portion of the Eastern Seaboard, was named after the collapse of DC's Knickerbocker Theatre, caused by the excess weight of the snow on the structure's roof, which resulted in 98 deaths and 113 injuries; later, both the building's owner and architect committed suicide.

(Photo by Herbert A. French/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

9. Blizzard Of 1888

A man stands by a snow hut, after the Great Blizzard of 1888, with U.S. Capitol in background, Washington, D.C. According to, 55 inches of snow piled up in some areas and hundreds of people were killed.

(Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

8. The Blizzard of 1996

The Blizzard of '96 was a severe nor'easter that paralyzed the U.S. East Coast with up to 4 feet of wind-driven snow from January 6 to January 8, 1996. It is one of only two snowstorms to receive the top rating of 5, or 'Extreme', on the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale. Looking west down Penn. Ave from the US Capitol during the Blizzard.

(Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

7. 2008 Blizzard in Tibet

Journeying outside of the Unites States, Tibet got a surprise storm that lasted 36 hours and dropped upwards of five feet of snow causing buildings to collapse and at least seven deaths

(Photo credit: Getty)

6. 1959 storm on Mount Shasta

Number six is the storm on Mount Shasta in California in 1959 which unloaded 189 inches of snow on the locals and is considered the largest snowfall from a single storm in North America according to NOAA.

(Photo by Frederic Lewis/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

2. Blizzard of 1977

At number two is the blizzard of '77 in Buffalo, New York. Powerful and sustained winds created massive snow drifts.

(Photo by Ira Block/National Geographic/Getty Images)

5. Blizzard of 1971

Next is the Eastern Canadian Blizzard of 1971. It is said the event closed down the Montreal Forum, canceling a Montreal Canadiens hockey game, something that hasn't occurred since the flu epidemic of 1918.

(Photo by Dave Norris/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

4. New England Blizzard of 1978

At number four is the New England Blizzard of 1978. Stalling over New England, this storm struck during the day, dropping over 27 inches of snow and stranding many at schools, businesses and others in their cars.

(Photo by David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

3. The Great Snow of 1717

Then there was the Great Snow of 1717 over the New England Area. With five feet of snow already on the ground, around four more fell on top of that creating drifts as tall as 25 feet, burying entire houses.

(Photo via Getty Images)

1. Blizzard of 1967

But the storm to top them all is the Blizzard of 1967. Laying waste to the Midwest, this storm took 76 lives, set the record snowfall for Chicago with 23 inches and was preceded by a severe tornado outbreak with temperatures in the 60's.

(Photo by Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images)


Difficult and dangerous travel is in store across the major passes of California, especially Friday night into Saturday.

Ice may glaze roads in central US

A storm moving across the Southwest on Thursday will emerge over the southern Plains with light rain and an icy mix by Friday.

Areas of freezing drizzle can develop late Thursday night into Friday morning from the Texas Panhandle to the central Plains. This includes areas from Amarillo, Texas, to Kansas City, Missouri.

Some of the wintry weather will reach the Midwest, including Chicago and Minneapolis, later in the day.

The precipitation will tend to be spotty in nature, but even a small amount of ice or snow can cause extremely treacherous roadway conditions. A more potent and far-reaching storm will follow on Christmas Day.

The threat for some wet and wintry weather will move into the Northeast by Christmas Eve.

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