Storms expected to dampen Christmastime travel

Two major winter storms are expected to hit the East and West Coasts of the U.S. and Canada and have a major effect on Christmastime travel.

Weather forecasting service AccuWeather says a storm bringing strong winds, heavy snow, “torrential rain, thunderstorms and fog” will hit the Northeast and Midwest on Christmas Eve, likely creating “major travel delays, both on the roads and at airports.”

The other side of the continent continues to be pelted by a string of storms moving in from the Pacific Ocean. Rain at lower elevations and snow in the mountains is expected in areas from the Northwest to the Intermountain West and Rockies through Christmas Day.

A strong storm will affect the Northwest this weekend with gusty winds, heavy low-elevation rain and high-elevation snow, while a second storm is predicted to come ashore on Tuesday, resulting in dropping snow levels in the Northwest and heavy snow farther inland in the West.

If you’re going to be traveling this Christmas season, prepare accordingly. Read my recent blog post for more travel tips, particularly if you’re traveling by air. If your flight is delayed or cancelled, make your first call to the airline’s reservations desk, not to Aunt Mildred. It may get you a leg up on your fellow passengers, and it may be significantly faster than standing, sheep-like, in line at the airline’s ticket counter or service desk. More on that here.

If you’re traveling by car, bring warm clothes, bottled water, and a well-stocked emergency kit. No matter what your mode of travel, bring extra doses of any prescription medications you may take in case you’re delayed a day or more, and always travel with a healthy dose of patience.

Finally, don’t take unnecessary risks, and don’t take the approach that you have to get to your destination no matter what the cost. Far better that you arrive late – or have to postpone your gathering with family and friends for a few days or even weeks – than doing something that will get you or your family hurt, or worse.

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