There wasn’t much to thank the nature when, two winter storms hit the US on Wednesday, stranding motorists and causing thousands of flight delays, as Americans flooded the highways and airports to visit their loved ones for the Thanksgiving holidays.
A rapid drop in atmospheric pressure led to a supercharged winter storm – bomb cyclone – due to which, scores of vehicles were stuck on Interstate 5. The cyclone dumped up to 1.2 meters (four feet) of snow in the mountainous areas of the Pacific Northwest.
Lisa Chadwick said that they were white-knuckling the storm for four hours and sliding around the road after she stopped in Bend, Oregon, driving north from San Francisco. Despite having snowchains for her two-wheel-drive car, she couldn’t put them on, as she didn’t know how to use them.
The US Midwest was also severely affected by a storm that smothered Denver on Tuesday, leading to hundreds of flight delays and cancellations at airports in Minneapolis and Chicago. Nearly 55 million Americans were set to journey at least 50 miles (80 km) for Thanksgiving, according to the American Automobile Association. The timing of the storms was harsh, as it was one of the busiest travel days of the year.
Minneapolis was expected to get about 12 inches of snow, said Brian Hurley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland. 30 inches (75 cm) of snow covered Colorado on Tuesday. The Weather Service forecast that, the storm with high winds is expected to move across upper Michigan and upstate New York toward central Maine, which could receive 6 to 10 inches of snow.
Prayers Were Needed:
“There are apocalyptic storms all over the country and 50mph winds! Why would things not be the worst? Anyway pray 4 me,” said a Twitter user going by the name of Abigail H., who was leaving from O’Hare on Wednesday.
Heavy rain threatened flash floods from San Diego to Los Angeles, on the West Coast. Passengers were advised to arrive three hours early by Los Angeles International Airport as 238,000 passengers and 113,000 vehicles were expected on Wednesday.
“There has been definitely lots of honking, lots of near-accidents that I’ve seen, for sure,” said Daniel Julien, a 24-year-old paralegal from Pasadena after making it to the airport.
Rain quenched the Cave Fire in Santa Barbara County, which charred 7 square miles (1,810 hectares) of vegetation. Evacuation warnings were issued to thousands of residents in Santa Barbara suburbs for possible mudslides on fire-charred hills. According to FlightAware.com, almost 4,083 flights were delayed and 148 were canceled in and out of the United States by 6.30 p.m. ET, with Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport tallying the most.
It was a difficult time for the people in the affected areas during Thanksgiving.