Winter storm Boreas will hammer the East Coast on Tuesday and Wednesday, threatening the driving and flying plans for as many as 39 milllion Americans set to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday. Boreas will move from the south up into the Midwest before barreling across to the Northeast up into New England, upstate New York and western Pennsylvania on Wednesday, causing travel chaos along the way.
Several of the East Coast airports in the storm's track are among the nation's airports most often closed by inclement weather.
Here's a list of the top 10 weather-affected airports in the U.S., according to The Weather Channel
1. Chicago (ORD) - The entire spectrum of rain, snow and thunderstorms can be found at the world's third busiest airport. More than one-third of all flights are delayed. Arrivals approach from the east, making flying around adverse weather even more difficult.
2. Detroit (DTW) -A close second in weather statistics, DTW's annual days with measurable rain or snow is 137, or every two to three days, which can conspire to snarl air travel.
3. New York City airports (EWR, JFK, LGA)- Approximately 27 percent to 32 percent of arrivals and departures are delayed from these big three airports. Wind, rain, fog, thunderstorms and snow can all trigger big delays and wreak havoc in the Northeast hubs.
4. Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) -Among the highest number of snow days and snowfall levels, MSP sees nearly 40 days of measurable snow falls a year. With such ominous snow statistics, delays are not as substantial and it is rare that a shutdown occurs, making it an ideal location as an airport hub.
5. Boston (BOS) -The windiest airport among large U.S. airports, even a typical Northeast frontal passage can yield wind gusts of at least 30-40 mph. BOS also lands in the top five for average snow (41.8 inches) and days with measurable precipitation (126 days a year).
6. Philadelphia (PHL) -Apparently if the lowest cloud deck drops below 700 feet, it is guaranteed there will be delays. PHL sits in the middle of the pack in most of our weather criteria, averaging only 19 inches of snow a year and gets about 27 days a year of thunderstorms.
7. San Francisco (SFO) - Despite no snow and very rare thunderstorms at SFO, more flight delays are due to low clouds and fog than any major U.S. airport. Low clouds and fog can hug the Bay Area any time of year, but interestingly, the spacing of the parallel runways is to blame, too.
8. St. Louis (STL) - STL is most often impacted by weather. The "Gateway to the West" sees an average of 22 inches of snow each year and seven days of measurable snow.
9. Atlanta (ATL) - Generally thunderstorms and rain, and occasional morning low clouds are the main weather factors that could cause significant delays at the world's busiest airport.
10. Anchorage (ANC) --Not only does Anchorage top the list of major U.S. airports in snowfall and snow days, but Aleutian volcanoes can also cause delays. When an eruption occurs, Anchorage can find itself downwind of the resultant ash plume, if winds aloft out of the southwest.
Boreas has already caused problems at Dallas-Fort Worth as more than 300 flights were canceled Sunday with freezing rain causing havoc for weekend travelers. And as of Monday morning the storm is dumping freezing rain all across northeast Dallas and heavy snow all across Arkansas and Western Tennessee, but the worst is yet to come as the storm mixes with a warm Gulf air coming from the south and a northern cold weather system from the south to create what the Weather Channel have described as “a lethal combination.”
On Monday night the storm is expected to cross over large parts of Kentucky and South Carolina, as well as small parts of neighboring states, before continuing on up toward the Northeast, dropping heavy snow and freezing rain along the way.
Airports across those regions have been put on standby with as much 8-12 inches due in areas of Pennsylvania and upstate New York.
The storm has already caused serious problems over much of the Western U.S., causing hundreds of serious car accidents and canceling events, according to the Weather Channel. So far the storm has caused nine deaths from California to Texas.
The last Nor'easter that hit the region was Nemo that caused 18 deaths and left 700’000 without power on the North coast. While Boreas is not expected to be as strong, it is expected to bring temperatures well below zero.
What to expect in the coming days and Thanksgiving weather:
Monday, Nov. 25
Texas is under siege from freezing rain, sleet and heavy snowwith and the main Dallas airport shut. Most airlines already begun de-icing their aircrafts, putting other airports in the Midwest and northeast on standby.
Tuesday, Nov. 26
The volatility of the storm increases as hot air from the Caribbean is absorbed just as it reaches the Gulf Coast, meaning the major travel hubs of Atlanta and Charlotte will be on standby. By the end of Tuesday the storm will start hitting New York City and Boston as heavy rain and initial icy conditions begin.
Wednesday, Nov. 27
A cold front coming down from Canada will have joined the storm, meaning bad news for those in upstate New York, western Pennsylvania and New England. Coastal cities will experience below freezing temperatures. Wind speeds of only 40mph are expected in the New York area, meaning airport activities will be restricted, but speeds of up to 75mph in New Jersey, Long Island and Massachusetts mean that air travel will be hugely affected.
Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28
As the storm reaches Canada, the areas left behind will experience high pressure, meaning nice days with temperatures potentially in the single digits. Travel issues will ease as the storm comes to an end.
Black Friday Nov. 29
With the cold air staying around for a few days, snow is likely to result in a good day for Black Friday sales, as cold weather usually means sales will be give retail a boost.