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Winter Storm Ezekiel Snarls Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend Travel

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A powerful winter storm that’s moving eastward continues to rage on today, disrupting travel for millions of homeward-bound Americans as the Thanksgiving weekend wraps up. The National Weather Service has warned of widespread snow, sleet and freezing rain across the Northeast.

Basically, the bad weather couldn’t have come at a worse time, as industry trade group Airlines for America (A4A) forecast Sunday, December 1, to be the busiest travel day of 2019, with an estimated 3.1 million passengers scheduled to fly. CNBC reported that a record 31.6 million U.S. travelers are expected to fly throughout the twelve days around Thanksgiving, an increase of four percent over 2018.

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As of 1:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, FlightAware.com reported the total number of delayed departures traveling within, into or out of the United States at 2,761, with 555 total cancellations of flights within, into or out of the country. USA Today cited The National Weather Service as saying that Winter Storm Ezekiel (as The Weather Channel has dubbed this system) could make travel in some places altogether impossible.

U.S. air carriers, including American Airlines, United, Delta, Southwest and JetBlue, are currently offering travel waivers—which allow passengers to switch flights without paying change fees—to those traveling to, from or through any of the impacted locations. So far, the list includes 29 airports, stretching from Pennsylvania to Maine. The Points Guy reported that United Airlines is even waiving fare differences for yet another day, as the weather continues to escalate.

Blizzards that are already swirling in the Upper Midwest and even snowy conditions on the West Coast are all part of a coast-to-coast weather system that’s now culminating in the formation of a nor’easter off the New England coast, which is also expected to drop a significant amount of snow over Eastern states in coming days.

Between six and twelve inches of snow is predicted to fall from northeast New Jersey to Connecticut, with “impactful amounts of snow” arriving December 1 through 2 in Boston and across New England’s interior. New York area counties and those further north are expected to receive up to a foot of snow and a quarter-inch of ice through Tuesday, December 3.

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