A nor’easter is expected to develop Wednesday along the East Coast just as millions of travelers are heading to their Thanksgiving destinations.

“I would pack your patience,” said Robert Sinclair Jr., of AAA New York.

The storm, forecast to dump rain along the coast and snow inland, could cause delays at Northeast airports and highways. Precipitation was forecast to sweep in from the south Tuesday night into Wednesday morning and exit the region Thursday morning.

According to meteorologist Eric Schwibs from the National Weather Service in Gray, “We have a cold front coming through late tonight until early tomorrow and behind it a front’s going to move off the coast and stall.”

Schwibs said, “What will happen is low pressure is going to develop off the southeastern United States coast, and that’s going to track northeast along that stalled front, and we’re going to be on the cold side of this system, so what’s going to happen is we’re going to end up with precipitation developing here midday or early afternoon on Wednesday and then continuing into Wednesday night before it ends.

“It’s going to be snow,” Schwibs said, “especially up in Lewiston-Auburn, and the potential is there for six or more inches of accumulation, which is why we have the winter storm watch out — confounding the problem, even though it’s not a major, major storm, it’s a huge travel day.”

Schwibs said, “If you’re traveling in Maine, wait until Thursday, behind it, or leave Wednesday morning before it arrives,” he said. “If you’re travelling further south, and you’re going to be running into it earlier.”

If you have plans to fly on Thanksgiving, “That’s going to impact a lot of the hubs from New York City and Philadelphia northward,” Schwibs said, “I know Boston, LaGuardia, JFK, Newark and then Philadelphia (will be affected).”

Locally, plow driver for Harry C. Crooker and Sons, Rick Powers lives on the Durham and Brunswick line and sees the flying white stuff a little differently.

“Just another pain in the arse type of storm,” Powers said, “everyone will be out and about scavenging for that last can of cranberry jelly or rack of beer and expecting August-like road conditions.

“Going to be a wet snow that will be like glass to walk and drive on,” Powers said. “We’ll just keep dumping salt on the Hannaford and Shaw’s lots to make a brine you could soak a turkey in.”

Powers added, “Might make for some good turkey bowling in the parking lots.”

Powers, who has been plowing since he was a kid on his family farm, said he is now part of some 50 pieces of equipment out moving in the storms clearing supermarkets and the all-important L.L. Bean lots for deliveries.

Jeff Masters, chief meteorologist for Weather Underground, said coastal cities are likely to mostly receive rain, although he cautioned Monday afternoon that meteorologists would be keeping a close eye on the rain/snow line.

“A small deviation in the track could change things dramatically,” he said.

As of Monday, the highest amount of snow was expected to fall in northeastern Pennsylvania, the Catskills of upstate New York and into Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. Ten inches is possible in some places, forecasters said.

Officials at the three major airports in the New York City area — JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty — were “monitoring weather forecasts carefully,” and were ready to take action if needed, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airports.

Sinclair noted that an estimated 41.3 million travelers were expected to hit the nation’s highways for the holiday weekend. That’s a 4.3 percent increase over last year.


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