Winter Storm Boreas, the massive blizzard blamed for 14 deaths across the Southwest, is expected to hit hard on the East Coast during the Thanksgiving holiday, reports Weather.com.
The Weather Channel’s Tom Niziol says that by the time the storm is done pummeling America with rain, snow, sleet and whipping winds, its wrath will impact some 100 million Americans.
Here’s what you should know about this ginormous weather system and how it will affect you and your holiday plans:
1. Air Travel Is Being Severely Impacted
Some of the country’s biggest airports are bracing themselves for serious delays on what is the biggest traveling week of the year. New York, D.C., Philadelphia and Boston are all on alert for weather-related delays.
In Dallas alone, the storm caused the cancelations of 495 flights, 300 of which were American Airlines. The airport at Dallas-Fort Worth is expected to see 1.2 million pass through its doors over the holiday.
The one day snow actually accumulates in Pittsburgh is obviously the day I'm trying to leave pic.twitter.com/92lazYwQc1
— Rachel Magerer (@rmagerer) November 26, 2013
On Tuesday, reports were coming through that pilots were noticing greater than average turbulance on east coast routes:
2. The Storm is Bringing Snow & Freezing Rain
The areas already hit hard by the storm, like Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas, have seen sleet, snow and freezing rain. As of November 26, the storm has moved to Missouri and Kansas, and was continuing its progression eastward.
3. The Storm Will Hit the Eastern U.S. by November 27
The Weather Channel reports that by the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the storm will land in western Pennsylvania, where it will drop 8 to 12 inches of snow there and continue moving toward New York.
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4. The Storm Is Being Blamed for 14 Deaths
Across the five states, Boreas has been named as the cause of 14 deaths mainly through traffic accidents. Five people were killed in Texas, with the Department of Public Safety in Oklahoma blaming the storm for four fatalities.
In New Mexico, police are saying that the high winds caused by Boreas killed a 4-year-old girl when her family’s car went off road. In California, three others were killed by Boreas.
5. Nearly 40 Million American Will be Traveling by Road for Thanksgiving
Air travel havoc aside, 39.8 million people will be on the nation’s roads traveling for the holiday. Most of those will travel 50 miles or more to their destinations. AAA says that the amount of road users is down from last year despite a 15 cents decrease in fuel costs.
6. The Storm Has Hit D.C.
By Tuesday (November 26), ice and rain were already being felt in the nation’s capital. The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for D.C. and Baltimore, but federal agencies were open for business.
7. The Storm May Rain on the Macy’s Day Parade … No Spongebob
According to the New York Post, organizers of the Macy’s Day Parade are bracing for possible delays due to the storm. With wind gusts expected of up to 40 mph, that would mean no big balloons, which are a staple of the parade. The big balloons slated for an appearance include Spongebob, Buzz Lightyear and Spiderman.
The NYPD said that if winds are above 35 mph, there will be no big balloons.
8. It’s Too Late to Buy Travel Insurance Against Boreas
According to insurance company Squaremouth, it’s too late to protect yourself against Boreas-related travel woes. The firm’s blog says that most providers used November 25 as the cutoff for Boreas-related coverage.
9. The Weather Channel Is Catching Criticism for Naming the Storm
Some weather purists are quite miffed that the Weather Channel started naming non-hurricane storms. The Weather Channel defended its naming of the storm, saying it makes it easier for people to follow the storm and for them to reference it. But AccuWeather countered, saying:
In unilaterally deciding to name winter storms, The Weather Channel has confused media spin with science and public safety. We have explored this issue for 20 years and have found that this is not good science and will mislead the public. Winter storms are very different from hurricanes.
10. Boreas is the Greek God of the North Wind
Not to mention being the god of winter, according to legend he had “icy breath,” and when he sought a wife, he …
…carried off Oreithyia (“mountain gale”), daughter of King Erekhtheus of Athens, who was playing with her companions in a flowery riverside meadow. Their children included Khione the goddess of snow, and the Boreades, a pair of purple-winged heroes who chased away the Harpies which were plagueing King Phineus of THrake.