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Rain, snow could mess up holiday travels

November 25, 2014

MINEOLA, New York (AP) — 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, the harvest holiday known as Thanksgiving.

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 (centimeters) of snow.

Higher elevations west of the Interstate-95 highway could see up to a foot (30 centimeters) of snow before the storm exits Wednesday night, meteorologist Andrew Orrison said.

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.

In Vermont, public safety officials warned that travel could be treacherous. Up to 16 inches (41 centimeters) of snow was forecast in some areas.

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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.

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