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Wind-Blown Rain Snarls Air Traffic as Storm Moves East

Rain and Wind Expected to End Later Today in New York City
In southern Wisconsin, the storm dropped as much as 20 inches of snow. Photographer: Tom Lynn/Getty Images

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- A storm that blanketed the Midwest with snow moved east today, bringing wind and rain that tied up airline traffic from Philadelphia to New York.

Gusts as high as 60 miles (97 kilometers) are possible until midday in New York City, when a high-wind warning expires, said Tim Morrin, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Upton, New York. The city may receive about 1.1 inches (2.8 centimeters) of rain.

“It will probably take until noon or one o’clock for the rain to move out of the area,” Morrin said by telephone. “There may even be some peeks of sun by this afternoon.”

The weather delayed flights arriving at Newark Liberty airport in New Jersey by as much as 3 hours and 18 minutes. Halts of more than two hours were reported at Philadelphia and New York’s LaGuardia, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s website.

Airlines scrubbed more than 300 flights today, with New York-area airports reporting the most cancellations, according to FlightAware, a Houston-based industry data provider.

“So far the impact from this storm has been short-term wind delays/cancellations,” Daniel Baker, chief executive officer of FlightAware, said in an e-mailed statement. “This storm is not as large as some winter storms we’ve seen in the past that can result in thousands of cancellations in a day, but the impact is significant due to the number of holiday travelers.”

Holiday Travel

Today through Dec. 23 are the busiest days for pre-Christmas travel, according to Airlines for America, the U.S. industry’s Washington-based trade group. More than 42 million passengers will fly during the holiday period, which the group defines as running from Dec. 17 through Jan. 6.

Winter weather advisories and storm warnings stretch from Iowa to the Adirondacks in upstate New York.

The heavy snow across the Midwest skirted Chicago, which received about one-tenth of an inch, according to the National Weather Service in Romeoville, Illinois. It is the latest date at which the city had its first measurable snowfall, the weather service said.

The last time at least an inch of snow fell in one day Chicago was 301 days ago on Feb. 24. The record is 319 days ended Jan. 6, 1940, according to the weather service.

In southern Wisconsin, the storm dropped as much as 20 inches of snow. Cleveland may receive as much as 8 inches and Buffalo 6 inches.

Power Out

About 130,000 homes and businesses from Missouri to Vermont were blacked out about 8:30 a.m. New York time today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from utility websites. The most extensive power failures were in New Jersey, where the three largest electric utilities reported 46,343 customers without electricity.

After the storm pulls out of New York, temperatures will fall to the low 30s Fahrenheit (about minus 1 Celsius) and it will still be breezy, although the wind won’t be as severe, Morrin said.

Morrin said there is a low chance the city will see a white Christmas next week, defined as having at least 1 inch of snow on the ground. The last was 2009, he said.

A “minor disturbance” will move through the region early next week and there’s a chance it may produce some snow.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at bsullivan10@bloomberg.net; Brooke Sutherland in New York at bsutherland7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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