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Heavy travel weekend wraps up with flight delays, bad weather

car in snow December 1, 1996
Web posted at: 9:00 p.m. EST

(CNN) -- A cold front dumped heavy rain along a line of thunderstorms from the Florida panhandle into Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York state Sunday, slowing travelers returning home from holiday visits.

The heavy rains caused flooding in the mountains of eastern Tennessee and Kentucky and western Virginia and North Carolina, where some roads were under water.

More heavy rains were expected Sunday, with the area from Georgia to Pennsylvania expecting up to 3 inches. Southern Georgia and the Florida panhandle have also been warned about possible damaging winds and hail storms.

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  • A cold front was also moving across the Northwest Sunday, dumping up to 10 inches of snow in the Cascade range and lesser amounts in areas from eastern Washington to eastern Idaho and western Montana.

    Overnight freezing temperatures in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles turned the snows to ice, but temperatures were rising Sunday, leaving residents in icy slush.

    Situation in Northeast

    New York trainstation  board

    Airport officials urged passengers to get to the airports early, and make sure they had some official, state or federal-issued form of identification with them.

    "Some people are coming up here trying to get on planes with their Sam's card," said an official at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.

    Steady rains along the East Coast caused departure delays of up to 45 minutes at New York's LaGuardia Airport, and 30-minute delays on flight arrival times.

    Port Authority and Amtrak officials also said there were no severe delays in bus and train travel in the New York/New Jersey region.

    Boston's Logan International Airport dealt with delays of up to two hours for departing flights and 40 minutes for arriving flights. The slowdown affected many of the 85,000 travelers coming through the airport Sunday, said communications director Phil Orlandella.

    Ripple effect in other parts

    The bad weather in the northeast had a domino-effect in Atlanta, which faced some minor delays for planes heading to New York or Washington.

    Snow at the Salt Lake City International Airport closed one runway, thereby causing some delays for flights there.

    Jerry Dewsnup, airfield operations manager, said the other two main runways remained open, and that crews were working to keep them clean with snowplows.

    Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport operations supervisor Brian Francis said 275,000 people were expected to use the airport Sunday, breaking last year's record of 240,000 on the same day.

    Chicago's O'Hare International Airport expected as many as 237,000 travelers through the evening.

    Some incoming flights were delayed at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport because of the weather in the northeast.

    Before the holiday, the American Automobile Association predicted 5.4 million people would travel by plane, train or bus. Another 26.4 million people would visit relatives or friends by car, for a total of 31.8 million people traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday.

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