Grinch-like weather plagues holiday getaway rush, again

Even as much of the nation rushed by plane, train and car to get somewhere to celebrate the holidays, the weather was in a Grinch-like mood.

As many as 95 million people will be in motion in the annual rite of making it to some relative’s or friend’s house to celebrate, according to the AAA. That is a slight increase of about 0.6% from last year, but it is the fifth consecutive year of growth.

According to the AAA, about 30% of the nation will be on the move from Saturday to Jan. 1, 2014.

While projections are that weather will improve through next week, the initial reports from the National Weather Service were grim.

Up to a foot of snow was predicted for parts of the Midwest, while flood watches were in effect just east. Heavy snow was likely for New England, the weather service said.

Freezing rains, expected to turn to snow, made the northern Plains a bit precarious. Much of the East awoke to warmer than usual winter weather, but the storm was moving east and is predicted to bring rain in a band through Appalachia.

Tornadoes were a possibility along parts of the Gulf Coast, including Arkansas and Mississippi, and heavy rain was expected in the coming days from Georgia to New York City. The West was facing snow in the Mountain States while even Southern California had morning chills that were expected to be overcome by, of course, sunny weather.

Few flights had been canceled but reported more than 1,300 delays with the major airports in Chicago, Denver and New York, all feeling the effect.

Despite the weather, those taking to the roads and skies were not being deterred--not even by an economy still in the early stages of recovery.

“While economic growth has stagnated and consumer confidence has fallen, Americans will not be Scrooges when it comes to traveling this year,” said AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney. “AAA is projecting more Americans to travel than ever before to gather with friends and family, exchange presents and ring in the new year.”


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