Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) -- A storm system forecast to bring heavy rain to the U.S. East Coast today is set to disrupt travel plans after grounding hundreds of flights in the South as the Thanksgiving holiday rush begins.
Rain is expected along the East Coast from Atlanta to Boston, with sleet and freezing downpours in parts of the Mid-Atlantic and the Appalachians, the National Weather Service said on its wsebsite. Heavy snowfall is possible in Western Pennsylvania, western New York and New England.
“The I-95 corridor is going to see a lot of rain and a lot of wind and that will be true from the mid-Atlantic states all the way up to Boston and Portland,” Rob Carolan, owner of Hometown Forecast Services in Nashua, New Hampshire, said yesterday. “This is not going to be a snowstorm for the megalopolis.”
The storm triggered winter weather advisories from New Mexico to Arkansas and parts of Mississippi, according to the National Weather Service. At least 10 people were killed over the weekend as the system moved across Texas and the South, according to the Associated Press.
As of 12:08 a.m. New York time, 491 flights into and around the U.S. were canceled, with 338 of them originating or departing from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, according to industry data tracker FlightStats.com. About 43 million people are expected to travel at least 50 miles (80 kilometers) from home during the holiday period from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, AAA said last week in its annual outlook.
The Southern storm will merge with another from Canada and the Great Lakes as it moves east, according to Carolan. With heavy rains into the middle of the week, travel problems will spread as well, said Tom Kines, a meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.
“There’s no doubt there are going to be travel delays at least as far as airplanes are concerned,” Kines said by phone yesterday. Snow will fall mainly in the upper elevations along the Appalachian Mountains northward through western New York and northern New England, Carolan said.
A winter storm watch is in place from eastern Ohio to northern Vermont, according to the weather service. Winter weather and freezing rain advisories were posted from Georgia to Virginia.
Heavy snow is possible in the mountains of West Virginia and Virginia today, according to the U.S. Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. Northern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine may also receive deep snow by Nov. 28.
The storm will be followed by another burst of cold air, Carolan said by phone.
Natural gas in New York rose for a fifth day on speculation that the forecasts for wintry weather will boost demand for the heating fuel. Futures for December delivery rose as much as 0.7 percent to $3.815 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Temperatures throughout the eastern U.S. are expected to be 5 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit (2.8 to 4.4 Celsius) below normal through the end of the week, according MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
For the Nov. 28 Thanksgiving holiday in New York, the high is forecast to be 35 and the low 26 under mainly clear skies, the National Weather Service said.
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