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Snowstorms, Cloud Cover Cause Air Delays in Eastern U.S.

Snowstorms, cloud cover and tornadoes in the eastern half of the U.S. caused air traffic delays from Chicago to New York and Washington, and wind may snarl traffic in the East tomorrow.

More than 540 U.S. flights were canceled today, according to FlightAware, a Houston-based tracking service. High winds expected in New York overnight may cause more travel difficulty, said Paul Walker, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.

A high wind warning goes into effect at 10 p.m. New York time until 6 p.m. tomorrow, meaning winds of 40 miles (63 kilometers) per hour are possible along with gusts of 60 mph, the National Weather Service said.

“The worst of the wind is expected very late tonight,” said Dan Hofmann, a meteorologist with the agency in Upton, New York. “It will stay windy through the day tomorrow.”

The winds may be strong enough to tear down trees, branches and power lines, Hoffman said by telephone.

“Driving will be difficult, especially in high-profile vehicles and on elevated roads and bridges,” the weather service said. “Unsecured outdoor items such as trash cans can also be easily blow about.”

High wind watches and wind advisories are in effect from New Hampshire to Florida.

Air traffic was delayed by more than 2.5 hours at Newark’s Liberty International Airport as of 4 p.m., and at LaGuardia and Washington National by about an hour, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s website. Delays were also reported in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Philadelphia, the agency said.

The storm left snow across the Midwest and southern Canada and sparked a tornado watch from southern Maryland to Florida. At least two tornadoes were confirmed in South Carolina and there were at least 61 reports of wind damage across the southern U.S., according to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

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