Massive winter storm may disrupt travel across US during Christmas week
A major winter storm will likely impact an especially busy travel season across the U.S. as weather predictions for the week of Christmas indicate a severe storm that will traverse much of the country. The two-week period at the end of each year is important for both personal and corporate travel, so the disturbances caused by delays, cancelations and other travel issues are exacerbated due to the sheer amount of people traveling. NBC News predicted that the storm system could affect millions of people making their way across the country and to other nations for both business and pleasure at the end of December.
"It's going to be a rainmaker, for sure," said Roy Lucksinger, meteorologist for the Weather Channel, to NBC News. "There's the threat of locally heavy rain and this system could be windy enough to disrupt travel at airports in the east."
Many Americans facing potential problems
Irish newspaper The Independent said the weather system could cause problems for as much as 70 percent of the U.S. population, both because of the timing and the areas affected. Christmas Eve, a time of especially heavy overall travel, will be the worst in terms of storm intensity for many travelers. Depending on severity, travel on major roads could also be impacted, The Independent said. Adding to travel woes, an unrelated storm is expected to hit the Pacific Northwest during the week as well.
Corporate travelers making their returns from business trips before the holidays may have to contend not only with the usually elevated number of people using airports and major roadways during the week, but delays and cancelations as well. Businesses have to fulfill their duty-of-care obligations at all times and make sure their employees return from business trips safely, even during the busiest travel times of the year.
The storm's path
Initial predictions have the weather system starting as a north-south cold front, according to NBC News, with initial impacts felt in the Upper Midwest as well as the Gulf Coast. The southern states facing the storm will likely have to deal with high winds and heavy rains, while those in more northern areas are expected to contend with significant snowfall. The weather system is projected to then move toward the East Coast, hitting the major population and business center on Christmas Eve.
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