Messy winter storm on East Coast snarls Thanksgiving travel

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It was a hellish holiday travel night Wednesday, with hundreds of flights canceled and thousands delayed by a punishing nor’easter.

But the silver lining for Thanksgiving Day? The storms are leaving and conditions should return to normal.

Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire will still see some snow. But New York will only get a dusting — and that’s good news for those lining up for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The weekend will be cold, very cold. But at least it’ll be dry. So, folks should be able to get home OK on Sunday.

Snarling travel

Contrast that (relatively) rosy outlook to conditions Wednesday.

The winter storm snarled travel across the East Coast, causing trouble on the nation’s roadways and delays of up to six hours at airports in the Northeast on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

The Massachusetts State Police reported at least 100 spin outs across the state. Fortunately, most of the accidents were minor and didn’t result in injuries.

Airlines had canceled 742 flights and had 4,748 delays “within, into, or out of the United States” as of Wednesday.

“This is not a huge number of cancellations, but due to the holiday, flights will be more full, and there will be fewer available seats to accommodate displaced passengers from canceled flights,” FlightAware.com’s Daniel Baker said.

Midwest affected, too

The Northeast isn’t the only region where bad weather is predicted. Light snow is forecast until Thursday in Minneapolis, Chicago and other parts of the upper Midwest.

AAA is expecting 46 million Americans to travel 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving weekend, and 90% of them are traveling by car. That would be the most travelers since 2007.

Drivers should check weather forecasts before setting out on the road, and travelers should also check tire pressure, car batteries and windshield wipers.

On the bright side, people traveling by car will probably pay less for gas than in recent years, AAA says.

The current average price of gasoline in the United States is $2.85 per gallon, 43 cents per gallon lower than the average price at the same time last year.

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