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Bad Weather Complicates Busiest Travel Day of the Year

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credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

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LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC/AP) — A wall of storms packing ice, sleet and rain did not upend as many holiday travel plans as it could have as millions of Americans took to the roads, skies and rails Wednesday for Thanksgiving.

Drivers passing through the Washington area did experience significant rain during the morning and, in a few areas, some light snow in the afternoon. The snow, however, did not stick in the immediate region. Some areas west of the capital did see some accumulation.

So far, the deadly storms barreling into the mid-Atlantic and Northeast have not resulted in many flight delays or cancellations, either.

Still, “the timing of the storm couldn’t be worse,” said Chris Vaccaro, spokesman for the National Weather Service headquarters in Silver Spring, Md. The day before Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest travel day of the year in the U.S.

More than 43 million people are to travel over the long holiday weekend, according to AAA. The overwhelming majority — about 39 million people — will be on the roads. But more than 3 million people are expected to filter through airports, and the weather could snarl takeoffs and landings at some of the busiest hubs on the East Coast, including New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston and Charlotte, N.C.

Transportation officials advised travelers to check with their airlines and reduce speed on highways. Travel experts suggested airline passengers might be able to have penalty fees waived if they wanted to change their bookings because of the weather.

Weather woes aside, there were some things for travelers to be happy about this year. The Federal Aviation Administration last month lifted restrictions on the use of most personal electronic devices during takeoffs and landings, and some airlines, including American, have already begun allowing passengers to stay powered up from gate to gate.

On the ground, gas prices are a little cheaper than a year earlier. For car-less urbanites, Amtrak is adding more trains for the holiday, and a new breed of express intercity bus was drawing more passengers hoping to escape airport hassles without sacrificing comfort.

All-News 99.1 WNEW is the only radio station to provide traffic reports every five minutes all day during the pre-Thanksgiving travel crush. Julie Wright and others bring you “Traffic and Weather Together” on the 1’s and “Your Beltway Fix on the 6″ exclusively on All-News 99.1.

Check traffic on your route before heading out on the road.

(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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