MINEOLA, N.Y. — One of the busiest, most stressful travel days of the year posed special challenges in the crowded Washington-to-Boston corridor as travelers on their way to Thanksgiving celebrations contended with a nor’easter packing rain and snow.
Major Northeast cities were likely to see moderate to heavy rain most of the day on Nov. 26, though New York and other places also were gearing up for several inches of snow, National Weather Service meteorologist Bruce Sullivan said.
Higher elevation areas west of the Interstate 95 corridor could see as much as 6 to 12 inches before the nor’easter exits Wednesday night.
“Right now we don’t see snow as a big issue in most of the major cities like Washington, Philadelphia and New York,” Sullivan said. “The snow is really going to have to come down to get any type of accumulation.”
Some travelers did not wait for the precipitation to start before heading for their holiday dinner tables.
“I don’t want to risk it,” said Jenna Bouffard, a New York City public relations executive who headed for her family home in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, a day earlier than she had planned. “I’d rather be safe than sorry, and if it doesn’t snow, then I just have an extra day at home with my family.”
NJ Transit Executive Director Veronique Haim said Nov. 26 is the commuter mass transit agency’s busiest travel day of the year.
In addition to operating on a weekday schedule, NJ Transit said additional “early getaway” service will be available from New York, Newark and Hoboken Terminal starting the afternoon of Nov. 26.
Major airlines dropped their ticket-change fees for people flying in and out of the Northeast, allowing passengers to try to sneak on an earlier flight, though that appeared to be a challenging proposition since most planes were filled.
United said it was planning to cancel 100 flights Nov. 26 in and out of Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey — a small fraction of the traffic there. Delta planned to cancel 57 flights.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports, said it was lining up extra staff and snow removal equipment in the event of a heavy snowfall. Crews were prepared to work in 12-hour shifts if necessary, officials said.
By Frank Eltman. AP Writers Jill Colvin in Newark, New Jersey, Denise Lavoie in Boston, and Scott Mayerowitz and Karen Matthews in New York contributed to this report