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Rain and snow threaten to snarl US holiday travel

November 27, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — A sprawling storm threatened the U.S. East Coast with a messy mix of snow, rain and wind Tuesday, just before one of the busiest travel days of the year.

Meteorologists warned that the storm would almost certainly upset holiday travel plans on Wednesday for those hoping to visit loved ones in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast for the Thanksgiving holiday. Many travelers were moving to earlier flights.

The storm is supposed to pass through the Northeast before Thanksgiving on Thursday.

Most airlines are hoping the storms won’t be too severe, allowing them to continue operating a nearly full schedule with few cancellations, but likely a lot of delays, said Daniel Baker, CEO of FlightAware, a global flight tracking service.

The storm system is already blamed for at least 11 deaths in the central and western U.S.

“It couldn’t have come at a worse time,” said meteorologist Tim Morrin of the National Weather Service. “Visibility will be restricted not only by the rain and wash from other cars, but from the fog.”

This holiday will likely see the most air travelers since 2007, according to Airlines for America, the industry’s trade and lobbying group, with the busiest day being Sunday, an estimated 2.56 million passengers. Wednesday is expected to be the second-busiest, with 2.42 million passengers.

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