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Three Words For Getaway Day: Soggy, Sloppy And Snowy

In Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Mark Swigart used a leaf blower to move snow.
Jeff Swensen
Getty Images
In Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Mark Swigart used a leaf blower to move snow.

While those in the western half of the nation will mostly enjoy fair skies on this Thanksgiving Eve, we regret to repeat that for millions of Americans east of the Mississippi it's going to be a messy busiest-travel-day-of-the-year (otherwise known as Getaway Day).

Here's what has to say:

"Heavy snow is forecast from the Tennessee Valley to western New England, with freezing rain possible across the Appalachians and western Mid-Atlantic into the interior Northeast through Wednesday. Meanwhile, heavy rainfall is forecast across parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast."

Unfortunately, then, the forecast hasn't changed much from earlier in the week.

So the standard rules apply: If you don't have to be on the roads, it's best to stay home; if you do have to travel, leave early; and if you're flying, check with your airline about delays. ( Note at 10:30 a.m. ET: As you'd expect, FlightAware says cancellations are starting to accumulate at airports in Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City.)

Update at 7 p.m. ET: Hundreds Of U.S. Flights Canceled

The <a href="">FlightAware Misery Map</a> combines weather and flight data. Click on the image for real-time updates.
/ FlightAware
The FlightAware Misery Map combines weather and flight data. Click on the image for real-time updates.

According to FlightAware, there have been 284 cancellations of flights inside, to or from the United States today, with several hours of flying time still to come.

Our original post continues:

Our friends on the All Tech Considered blog also offer this tool: A "real-time map" that combines weather and flight data to show "which airports are being struck by storms, the number of delays and cancellations, and graphs [of] flight destinations and the chances they'll actually make it on time."

Meanwhile, if you're planning to turn on the TV and watch Thursday's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, you should know that strong winds may ground the iconic balloons. According to The Associated Press, that's only happened "once in the parade's 87-year history, when bad weather kept them from flying in 1971."

Related headlines from some of our NPR colleagues:

-- "Winter Weather On Its Way" ( West Virginia Public Broadcasting)

-- "Thanksgiving Travel May Be Hampered By Wintry Weather" ( WAMU in Washington, D.C.)

-- "Winter Blast Sweeping Through WNY" ( WBFO in Buffalo, N.Y.)

-- "Traffic Maps And Storm Tracker" ( WNYC in New York City)

-- "Traveling For Thanksgiving? With Storm, Timing Is Everything" ( New Hampshire Public Radio)

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.