Heavy snow and hurricane-force winds causing misery and delays for Thanksgiving travelers

Author: CBS NEWS
FILE- In this March 10, 2017, file photo, pedestrians walk through wet snow in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The Northeast is bracing for winter’s last hurrah — a blizzard expected to sweep the New York region starting Monday, March 13, with possibly of being the season’s biggest snowstorm. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

The weather could bring misery for millions of Thanksgiving travelers with heavy snow in the upper Midwest and hurricane-force winds in California. The snow has been blamed for at least one deadly crash, and the storm is moving toward the Northeast.

There were around six inches of snow in Minneapolis Wednesday morning, CBS News correspondent Don Dahler reports. About 800 plow trucks are out clearing roadways.

Throughout the country, dozens of spin-outs and crashes were reported across thousands of miles of interstates, many of which were shut down for safety.

“A lot of us are stranded and can’t get to our locations where we can be with our families for Thanksgiving,” said Juan Smith, a truck driver.

Interstate 70 was shut down for hours after a tractor trailer jack-knifed. Two other semis slammed into it, and one of the drivers was killed.

“We’re seeing a lot of people sliding off of roads, sliding off of highways, why is that?” Dahler asked driving instructor Jeff Anderson.

“They over correct. They forget, I have to stay calm. It’s human nature to run away from a problem, to hide from it, to close our eyes. We can’t do that, we need to focus. Where are we going? Keep our line of sight, where it is we want to go and that’s how we get there,” Anderson said.

The storm slammed Minnesota Tuesday night, dumping upwards of 10 inches across the state. The Divine family in Eden Prairie made their escape just before the storm hit.

“Don’t want to be caught on the roads and also the traffic because we figure that there’s going to be a mass exodus, so we’re trying to get on the road before all of those other cheese heads make their way to Wisconsin,” Renee Divine said.

In addition to snow, rain and wind will bear down on the East and West Coasts as traffic hits its peak Wednesday afternoon. Drive times are expected to triple in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Boston, CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave reports.

“People should be extra careful,” said Lt. Anthony Dear with the Massachusetts State Police.

The department has stepped up patrols, knowing Thanksgiving means more cars, more traffic and more accidents. Dear spotted a white SUV swerving on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The driver, Glen Holmes, got a warning. He was heading to Thanksgiving in Connecticut.

“So what was going on there?” Van Cleave asked.

“I was trying to adjust the volume on my audible,” Holmes said.

On the rails, this is Amtrak’s busiest season. College student Jayda Hinds is heading to Old Bridge, New Jersey.

“Boston’s really hectic to get home from Thanksgiving,” Hinds said.

There also were thousands of delays and cancellations in the air. “It was busy. There was delays all over the screen,” one traveler said.

TSA expects a record number of flyers with 2.7 million Wednesday alone. United CEO Oscar Munoz said planes will be fuller in part because of the grounded Boeing 737 Max.

“It is going to be crowded, there are going to be many people who are flying that don’t normally fly,” Munoz said. “So a little patience, a little empathy, always goes a long way.”

Van Cleave was making the drive from Boston to Washington, D.C., about 440 miles, most of it on Interstate 95, the busiest, most congested freeway in the country. On a normal day it would take seven to eight hours. He’ll give an update on how long it takes him on the “CBS Evening News” on Wednesday.

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