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Winter storm complicating holiday travel plans

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — This Thursday is expected to be the busiest travel day of the holiday season, and it may be complicated by a storm system that’s on the way.

A blast of Arctic weather hit the Pacific Northwest on Tuesday, and forecasters say it will bring heavy snow and ice as it makes its way east across the Plains and Midwest.

The storm will impact the East Coast late Thursday night into Friday, however, we won’t be in for a white Christmas. The precipitation is expected to change over to widespread rain, which may be heavy at times. There’s also the potential for damaging wind gusts of 45 to 65 mph, particularly closer to the coast, which could cause scattered power outages.

While the storm will likely affect driving conditions for the upcoming holiday, it’s already having an impact at the airport. Some major airlines have sent notices to travelers warning them to prepare for possible delays and cancellations. United Airlines is monitoring the storm and will make adjustments as needed, while American Airlines said it’s operating with “all hands on deck” to ensure fliers get to where they’re going with minimal disruptions.

People at T.F. Green International Airport on Thursday told 12 News they were glad to be flying out before the weather hits.

“Worked out pretty well. Would much rather travel in nicer weather like it is tonight than in worse weather later on,” said Janek Schaller, who was heading to Indianapolis.

More than 7 million Americans are forecast to fly between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2, according to AAA, and the FAA says nearly a quarter of them will be doing so on Thursday alone.

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