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High winds, snow could impact holiday travel

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:05 PM EST, Fri December 23, 2011
Travelers move through security lines Friday at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Travelers move through security lines Friday at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Newark is the only airport where weather delays are reported
  • Severe weather snarled travel in the South on Thursday
  • A winter storm wreaks havoc on New Mexico

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(CNN) -- High winds and snow prompted airport and highway delays in some metropolitan areas Friday, potentially snarling holiday travel plans on one of the nation's busiest travel days.

Flights headed to and leaving Newark, New Jersey, one of several airports serving New York City, were at risk of delays because of high winds in the area, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Delays were also reported early in the day at New York's LaGuardia airport. CNN meteorologist Reynolds Wolf said wind could also trigger delays in Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, while snow could pose a problem in Minneapolis.

By Friday afternoon, however, Newark was reporting the only weather-related delay on the FAA's web site. Traffic departing from Baltimore was slightly delayed because of volume.

The nation's busiest airport, in Atlanta, was reporting business as usual Friday. The airport had been shut down, affecting some 5,200 flights, when severe weather swept the South on Thursday.

Some travelers ended up spending the night at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport after missing their connections. One man told CNN Friday his wife was driving from Charleston, South Carolina -- five hours away by car, one way -- because after he spent the night in the airport, the first two flights out Friday morning were full.

Meanwhile, drivers in some areas weren't having much better luck. In New Mexico, a winter storm triggered the closure of Interstates 10 and 25, the state's Department of Transportation said. Interstate 10 was closed from Lordsburg to Las Cruces, and Interstate 25 was closed from Las Cruces north to Bernardo.

A winter storm warning remained in effect for much of New Mexico through 11 p.m. Friday. Up to 8 inches of new snow was likely for elevations above 7,500 feet, according to the National Weather Service, but snow was forecast for all locations. Winds were forecast to gust up to 35 mph in some areas.

"Travel will be nearly impossible, at least this morning, with many road closures expected," the Weather Service said. "Conditions will gradually improve between late this morning and this evening."

The same storm was also causing slippery roads in El Paso, Texas, according to CNN affiliates.

Snow could also hamper travel in Colorado, especially the Boulder area, which saw 3 feet of snow on Thursday, Wolf said.

South of Denver, the town of Castle Rock, Colorado, received about a foot of snow, said CNN iReporter Matthew Colver.

"Luckily, my grandson is here, just graduated from Marine boot camp, and he used my snow blower to clear the driveway and walkways," Colver said. "It's 12 degrees outside now."

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