Rain, snow cause Thanksgiving travel chaos as storms sweep across the nation

Lufthansa jet in snow storm

Storms are set to batter the United States on the approach to Thanksgiving

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for Stearns, Benton, Sherburne, Wright, and other counties from 6 PM Friday to noon on Sunday.

As millions of people in the United States head home for the Thanksgiving holiday, the weather is set to cause widespread disruption.

Angela Smith said the Oceanfront Lodge, a hotel she manages in Crescent City, in far Northern California, lost power briefly during rain and strong winds.

The arrivals board shows cancelled flights after a pre-Thanksgiving holiday snowstorm caused more than 460 flight cancellations at Denver International Airport, Colorado, U.S., November 26, 2019.

By Friday night, our storm will be in high gear, possibly dumping large amounts of snow and seriously impacting travel.

As many as 278 flights were canceled as of early Thursday, while a jaw-dropping 4,576 flights were delayed, said Flight Aware.

Denver could get upwards of 25cm of snow and be raked by winds reaching 70kmh as the winter storms spark blizzard warnings across eastern Colorado and parts of Wyoming, the National Weather Service said.

The weather forecast on Wednesday for much of the USA -from the sunny beaches of Southern California to the wind-whipped streets of Chicago-calls for heavy snow, rain and powerful wind gusts. According to the Weather Channel, the Capital Region could get up to 11 inches of snow this Sunday into early Monday morning.

About 10 inches of snow mixed with winds that limited visibility and canceled about 30% of the 1,600 average daily flights at Denver's main airport. The San Gabriel Mountains could see 1 to 2 feet of snow.

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Airport workers handed out blankets, baby formula and diapers, and restaurants stayed open longer than usual, she said. While the interstate did reopen, the people on the Kansas route were asked to stay off.

South of the snow track, high winds could race across New Mexico and Texas and eventually reach western Pennsylvania and NY this morning, the weather service said. Conditions were so treacherous, she said, that she was afraid to try to exit the freeway because it was so slippery.

At the Minneapolis airport, Delta Air Lines prepared by filling de-icing tanks, calling in extra flight dispatchers and assigning some of its 20 in-house meteorologists to focus on the Minneapolis forecast.

"That could be a coast-to-coast storm", he said.

Giant, colorful character balloons floating through Manhattan during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, a cherished staple, might be grounded for Thursday's festivities because of gusting winds in the Big Apple.

"6" or more of snow can be expected in the plains, with up to 60 miles per hour wind gusts Friday night through Saturday.

Organisers have said they will make a decision today morning.

Hundreds of drivers were left stranded in their vehicles on Interstate 5 near the Oregon-California border on Wednesday following a major blizzard.

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