Storms threaten Thanksgiving travel across U.S., hundreds of flights canceled in Denver – NBC News

Storms threaten Thanksgiving travel across U.S., hundreds of flights canceled in Denver – NBC News

An ill-timed snowstorm grounded hundreds of flights in and out of Denver on Tuesday as other travelers around the country also braced for bad weather that could interfere with Thanksgiving plans, officials said.

“Two powerful storm systems will move through the Lower 48 states this week,” said a statement from the National Weather Service on Monday night.

“Storm 1 will bring heavy snow from the Rockies to the Upper Midwest Tuesday and Wednesday with strong winds south of its track. Storm 2 arrives Tuesday into the West Coast with heavy mountain snow.”

Denver International Airport reported at least 474 flight cancellations on Tuesday, throwing a monkey wrench into travel plans of 196,000 passengers who had planned to pass through the Rocky Mountain hub two days before Thanksgiving.

Seven inches of snow fell at the airport between Monday night and 7 a.m. Tuesday.

“It’s supposed to clear up tomorrow, so cross your fingers” that a full slate of flights could take off and land on Wednesday, airport spokeswoman Alex Renteria said Tuesday.

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Oregon State Police talk with a truck driver who was traveling on Highway 58 without chains near Willamette Pass east of Oakridge on Nov. 25, 2019.Andy Nelson / The Register-Guard via AP

Meanwhile in central and southern Oregon, travelers may have to adjust their plans in light of heavy rain and snow that are forecast to pummel the region Tuesday afternoon and night.

With up to 12 inches of snow expected to fall in the area’s highest elevations, some travelers decided to get a jump on travel on Monday.

“Oh yeah, we don’t want to be on the roads when the weather hits,” driver Julie Eagen told NBC affiliate KGW in Portland . “It can be scary.”

Heavy snow was also expected to fall on Minnesota starting Tuesday night and continue through Wednesday afternoon. Between 5 inches and 10 inches of snow was forecast for the Twin Cities, NBC affiliate KARE reported.

But if the bulk of the snow falls in late-night and early-morning hours — when few flights are scheduled at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport — plows might be able to efficiently clear runways and keep cancellations and delays to a minimum.

“It’s much better than snow falling in the middle of the day,” airport spokesman John Welbes said Tuesday. “So far our boards haven’t lit up (with cancellations).”

A balloon from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is displayed in Rockefeller Center during a preview of the parade on Nov. 25, 2019.Nathan Congleton / NBC

Even balloons at the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade could be grounded due to winds forecast for New York later this week.

Forecasters said sustained winds of between 20 mph and 25 mph, with gusts between 46 mph and 50 mph, could come to New York City on Thursday morning.

Sustained winds of at least 23 mph and gusts of 34 mph would ground balloons, according to Susan Tercero, executive producer of the parade that will be televised by NBC.

“We refer to it as a game-day decision,” Tercero said. “We get there right before the parade begins.”

“We kind of assess based on all our anemometers along the route,” she said, referring to devices that measure wind speed and direction. “Then we’ll make that determination about how high the balloons will fly and if they’ll fly.”

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