TRAVEL ALERT: More Than 200 Flights Canceled, Severe Weather To - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

TRAVEL ALERT: More Than 200 Flights Canceled, Severe Weather To Blame

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More than 200 flights canceled, as travelers to and from Northeast watch the weather
    
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - So far, the storms that have moved into the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast haven't caused the kind of travel problems that had been feared on the day before Thanksgiving.
    
More than 230 flights have been canceled, according to the air tracking website FlightAware.com. Most of them were in and out of three major Northeast hubs -- Philadelphia, Newark, and New York's LaGuardia -- and the delays and cancellations haven't been rippling out to other parts of the nation's air network.
    
Meanwhile, forecasters say the storm is going to start to loosen its grip on the East Coast as the day wears on.
    
Still, it's meant some anxious moments for travelers trying to get two and from the Northeast. One college freshman waiting at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport for a flight to New York was checking the weather in New York on her smartphone.
    
Some of the longest delays have been affecting flights headed for Philadelphia. According to FlightAware.com, they were held up at their points of origin for an average of about two hours this morning because of the weather.
    
A large area of rain is spreading over the Northeast, and it's expected to gradually move out into the Atlantic as the day wears on. Wind is also a concern, and parts of southeastern New England have been under a high-wind warning today.
    
A residual band of snow behind the storm stretched this morning from western Pennsylvania to West Virginia.

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NBCNEWS.COM - Flight delays and cancellations piled up Wednesday at some of the busiest airports, and a band of rain from Maine to the Carolinas soaked Americans trying to get home on the busiest travel day of the year.

At least in the early going, it didn't appear to be the Thanksgiving nightmare forecast earlier in the week. But the snarls were expected to grow, and drivers in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia faced treacherous icy roads.

Planes waiting to fly to LaGuardia Airport in sat on the ground for an hour or more because of strong wind in New York, and flights headed for Philadelphia were delayed by two hours. More than 100 flight cancellations were reported around the country by early morning.

Shoulder-to-shoulder crowds waited for trains at Penn Station in New York on Tuesday night, and gazed up at a status board that showed "DELAYED" over and over.

Kristen McGinnis, hoping to get to Chicago, waited in a long security line at Logan airport in Boston. She had moved her flight up to avoid what was expected to be a messy day of travel.

"My husband, because of work, couldn't, so I'm hoping he still will be able to join us," she told WHDH, the NBC affiliate in Boston.

New York's three major airports were expecting 1.3 million fliers, about 30 percent more than an average Wednesday. Authorities there said that they were worried about strong wind later in the day.

An estimated 43 million Americans will travel for the holiday, the vast majority of them driving.

The good news was that two storm systems that were expected to collide, bringing snow and ice and strong wind to a vast section of the Northeast, never did. Forecasters cut their snow forecasts for some cities in half.

"It is not looking nearly as bad for travelers," said Kevin Roth, lead meteorologist at The Weather Channel. "There is going to be some rain for the larger cities, and some snowfall further inland, but it is coming in pieces."

One of the two systems, over the Great Lakes, dumped 3 to 7 inches of snow on parts of upstate New York and western Pennsylvania late Tuesday. Mercer, Pa., had 9.5 inches of snow, and Pittsburgh got 3 inches.

Roth said roads in these areas would be far from perfect for drivers, but conditions were likely to be better than the chaos forecast earlier in the week.

Farther south, a tornado was confirmed at Atlantic Beach, N.C. Two people were hurt.

The second storm traveled from California last week and over Southern states. At least 14 people died as a result of icy roads, floods, and fallen power lines, and the storm was responsible for almost 500 flight cancellations at Dallas Fort-Worth.

This system was over Alabama early Wednesday and was due to move to the Northeast by the afternoon.

In New York, organizers of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade kept an eye on the forecast for Thursday. Sustained wind of 15 to 22 mph was expected, with gusts as high as 40.

City rules say that larger balloons, such as Hello Kitty, Spider-Man, SpongeBob Squarepants and Greg from "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," can't float down Broadway if sustained wind is higher than 23 mph or gusts stronger than 34 mph.

Smaller balloons, including a candy cane and the elusive football that Charlie Brown chases down Broadway, would still be allowed in strong wind.

The rules were put in place after a Cat in the Hat balloon sheared off part of a lamppost on a gusty Thanksgiving Day in 1997, severely injuring two people on the ground.

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