Christmas Week Storms to Impact Travel for Millions in Midwest, East

SantaBomb May Get You Regardless if You’ve Been Naughty or Nice

By Paul Riegler on 20 December 2014
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DSC_0798The Christmas holiday is only days away and millions of people are already packing their bags to go over the river and through the woods.  Two storms may, however, disrupt travel in one of the busiest travel periods of the year, one in which 98.6 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home, according to the Automobile Association of America.

While it’s too early to forecast how much snow will accumulate where, models strongly indicate that the Appalachian Mountains and Great Lakes states will see a white Christmas.  While we eschew the silly names that the Weather Channel has started to use for winter storms, it’s interesting to note that the cognoscenti on Twitter and other social media have named this the “SantaBomb” storm, a play on the term “weather bomb,” which is used to describe an extratropical cyclone – one that contains cold and warm fronts – that forms as a result of lift caused by an upper-level trough or strong winds in the jet stream.

A robust jet stream will spread over the eastern half of the United States and Canada in the middle of the week.  While rain on Monday may impact travel from the Mid-Atlantic states down to Florida, with the possibility of snow in the Northern Plains, and a cold front will move from the Great Lakes to the northern Gulf Coast on Tuesday, a low pressure system will push the cold front eastward on Wednesday, causing wind-driven snow in the western Great Lakes and the Ohio and Tennessee valleys, along with heavy rain, high winds, and thunderstorms that will move into the Northeast and extend downward into the Carolinas, eastern Georgia, and parts of Florida.

Meanwhile, a second storm threatens to bring heavy snow and rain to the Northwest, northern Rockies, and northern California over the same period of time.

Expect significant delays in the impacted regions, especially later on Tuesday and on Wednesday.  Driving conditions may be treacherous in some areas and travelers should be prepared to make changes in their plans on short notice.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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