December 26, 2010 by USA Post
Atlanta Airport, (AP) – A severe winter storm that has a rare white Christmas in the South was barreling up the East Coast on Sunday morning; forecasters are predicting 6 to 10 inches of snow in Washington and blizzard conditions New York and New England.
Airlines canceled hundreds of flights on Sunday in the Northeast corridor, with more likely to come as the storm intensifies.
Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina declared states of emergency Sunday morning or Saturday evening. As road crews North Carolina tried to clear roads snowy and icy, the Mid-Atlantic officials spent Christmas Day preparing for a foot of snow, plunging temperatures and winds.
“Our concern is tomorrow, it will become much colder,” said Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell the Weather Channel on Saturday night. “Winds gusting to 45 mph will cause blowing snow and that will cause the worst … and we urge extreme caution in travel. Try to go early and if you do not have to travel will not. ”
Continental Airlines canceled 250 departures Sunday from Newark Liberty International Airport outside New York City. United Airlines announced Saturday that it had canceled dozens of departures on Sundays from Newark, Philadelphia, New York LaGuardia and JFK, Boston and other airports. AirTran has also canceled flights, like Southwest Airlines, often in or out of Washington Dulles, Baltimore and Newark.
Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins said most of the cancellations were for the afternoon, and flights from New York and Boston would also be likely to be affected. More decisions will be taken on Sunday morning.
Most carriers have been the abolition of fees for time change in the affected areas and urging passengers to make changes on their websites.
The monster storm is the result of a low pressure system, which will develop off the coast of North Carolina on Sunday morning and strengthen into a storm as it moves northeast, according to the National Weather Service .
A blizzard warning was issued in New York City for Sunday and Monday with a forecast of 11 to 16 centimeters of snow and strong winds that will reduce visibility to near zero at times. As much as 18 inches could fall on the shore of New Jersey, with gusts over 40 mph. A blizzard warning was also in effect for Rhode Island and most of eastern Massachusetts including Boston, with forecasters predicting 15 to 20 inches of snow from Sunday 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. Monday. A blizzard warning is issued when snow is accompanied by sustained winds or gusts over 35 mph.
Sunday morning, winter storm warnings covered northern Georgia, the Carolinas, Washington, Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and eastern parts of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. Winter weather advisories were in effect for eastern Tennessee and Kentucky, West Virginia and North West Virginia.
The system gave Carolina its first white Christmas in decades. Columbia, SC, held its first Christmas snow significantly since meteorological records were first kept in 1887.
In Asheville, North Carolina, the Meteorological Service reported about an inch of snow had fallen an hour Saturday. As much as 10 inches could fall by Sunday morning, which would break the previous Christmas Day record of 5.4 inches set in 1969.
North Carolina Lt. Governor Walter Dalton declared a state of emergency Saturday.
North Carolina Highway Patrol said Saturday night that most roads in and around Asheville have been covered or partially covered with snow and ice. Emergency management spokeswoman Julia Jarema said soldiers in the two counties west dozen 350 calls answered in 18 hours on Saturday. Most were wrecks.
Lance Cpl. Bill Rhyne, the spokesman for the Upstate South Carolina Highway Patrol said Saturday night that the snow began to cover the roads, but there were fewer accidents than there would be a normal night.
“Everyone at home,” he said. “It’s Christmas. They are heeding the warnings and stay off the roads.”
In Nashville, some travelers who are planning a trip to a sweet Christmas surprises.
“We hoped that this would be a good day to travel,” said Heather Bansmer, 36, of Bellingham, Washington
She and her husband, Shawn Breeding, 40, had planned to go home on separate flights after a visit to the family of reproduction in Bowling Green, Ky. But flight reproduction thanks to Atlanta was canceled.
The couple intended to spend much of Christmas Day in different airports.
“A white Christmas is not so welcoming,” said Breeding, the couple stood in the lobby of the Nashville airport with their luggage in a cart.
In Pensacola, Florida, Jena Passuti faces a dilemma. The magazine editor, 36, was driving with her husband and two children in Fairfax, Virginia to visit relatives. Saturday afternoon, she worried about how to return home amid the snow.
“Should we leave on Christmas Eve? My children are travelers normally, but if it will take us twice as long, it will be hell,” she said. “Like a white Christmas just like everyone else but I do not want to drive.”
In Washington, the transport ministry spokesman said Karyn LeBlanc few teams would be pre-treating roads on Saturday night if necessary. Approximately 200 pieces of equipment will be deployed on Sunday in anticipation of the snow.
To the north, Delaware and Philadelphia is preparing for up to a foot of snow expected to fall from Sunday to Monday and authorities urged people to avoid traveling if possible.
Hundreds of flights, many thanks to Atlanta had been canceled Saturday. Only a few hundred people milled about the cavernous terminal Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, many of them newcomers from international flights. Passengers were advised Friday when the flights were canceled preventively, although most have not bothered to introduce themselves. Many chairs were empty, restaurants as well.
Some could not help but laugh that flights have been nixed in advance of the straw or the first snowflake fell. Wet snow did not begin until the fall of Atlanta on Saturday afternoon.
“They have canceled hundreds of flights and there was not even a drop of rain,” said Stephanie Palmer, who killing time with his friend Ibrahim Soumano was waiting for a flight to Mali. “It makes no sense.”
Southern cities have seen varying amounts of snow, as they were in the path of the storm.
The Nashville area has an inch or so of snow on Christmas Eve. There was also snow in northern Alabama.
Saturday, 4 to 5 inches of snow had fallen for several hours in Bowling Green, Ky., according to the weather service. Louisville is about an inch.
The Air Transport Association was expecting to 44.3 million people on U.S. flights between December 16 and January 5 – up 3 percent over the same period a year ago but still below the Travel volume before the recession. The average ticket price and was 421, up 5 percent.
AAA predicts holiday travel together to increase by about 3 percent this year, with more than 92 million people intend to go over 50 miles by 2 January. Over 90 percent said they would be driving.
Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Jessica Gresko in Washington; Page Ivey in Columbia, Karen Hawkins in Chicago and Verena Dobnik Warren Levinson in New York, David Goodman in Detroit, Eileen Sullivan in Washington and Samantha Bomkamp; to Michelle Price Phoenix, Dylan Lovan in Louisville; Pallat Leonard and Greg Bluestein in Atlanta and Mark Pratt in Boston.
Copyright © 2010 the Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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