Historic bomb cyclone could affect Thanksgiving travel

By Paul P. Murphy, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:49 p.m. ET, November 26, 2019
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8:49 p.m. ET, November 26, 2019

What you need to know about the storms threatening Thanksgiving travel

From CNN's Holly Yan and Judson Jones

A jet passes snow-covered cars parked at Denver International Airport on Nov. 26.
A jet passes snow-covered cars parked at Denver International Airport on Nov. 26. Joe Mahoney/Getty Images

Two powerful storms will bring snow, intense rain and strong winds for millions of Thanksgiving travelers.

Here's what we know:

  • Flights were grounded: The heavy snowfall that grounded hundreds of flights in Denver could soon do the same at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport in Minnesota and dump several feet of snow on the Midwest.
  • Millions of people are under weather advisories: About 21 million people from the West Coast to the Great Lakes are under some kind of winter weather advisory. In Southern California and Arizona, 17 million are under flash-flood watches.
  • "Historic" storm will threaten the West Coast: A dangerous storm is heading towards southwest Oregon and northwest California, the National Weather Service said. Southwest Oregon and northern California could face wind gusts up to 70 to 80 mph. But winds will not be the only concern.
  • Track it: You can track weather forecasts and travel here.

6:48 p.m. ET, November 26, 2019

Interstate 70 in western Kansas closed due to snow storm

From CNN's Dave Alsup

Interstate 70 in western Kansas is closed in both directions due to a snow storm.  

Kansas Department of Transportation tweeted that the closure stretches from Colby, Kansas, to the Colorado state line in both directions. 

5:46 p.m. ET, November 26, 2019

Minnesota prepares for major snow storm

From CNN's Dave Alsup

Minnesota Department of Transportation is preparing 800 plow trucks to hit the roadways ahead of tonight’s snow storm, and 1,800 road workers will staff them, according to Jedd Falgren, a state maintenance engineer for the department.

“This is obviously our first big hitter of the season,” Falgren told reporters at a news conference today.

He said they are “expecting the commute tomorrow morning to be quite a challenge.”  

5:21 p.m. ET, November 26, 2019

At least 31 million people are expected to travel for Thanksgiving

From CNN’s Gregory Wallace

At least 31.6 million people are expected to travel for Thanksgiving, according to a statement from Airlines for America.

They are expected to travel from Nov. 22 to Dec. 3, the statement. The busiest day to travel is expected to be Dec. 1.

“The popularity of air travel continues to soar this holiday season, as airlines and airports alike continue to invest billions of dollars into improving the quality of the experience and the efficiency of their operations,” said John Heimlich, the group's vice president and chief economist.
3:25 p.m. ET, November 26, 2019

The bomb cyclone is strengthening as it moves over the West Coast

The bomb cyclone will be moving into Oregon and California over the next few hours.

The National Weather Service in Medford, Oregon, urged residents to "avoid travel today."

They added that travel conditions may improve slightly on Wednesday afternoon.

Here's what the bomb cyclone looks like over the West Coast:

2:09 p.m. ET, November 26, 2019

Severe storms are expected later today from Louisiana to Illinois

Severe weather is possible this afternoon and evening from Illinois south to Louisiana. 

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a level 3 of 5 — an enhanced threat — from near St. Louis south through Memphis, where tornadoes are possible.

Here's a look at the area:

1:50 p.m. ET, November 26, 2019

This is what it looks like in Denver right now

Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty Images
Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty Images

David Zalubowski/AP
David Zalubowski/AP

From California to Michigan, more than 20 million people are under winter weather advisories this week, one of the busiest for holiday travel.

A snowstorm has already led to more than 450 flights being canceled in and out of Denver as the city braces for 10 to 15 inches of snow.

CNN’s Lucy Kafanov is in Denver and CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers is in Atlanta. Watch them answer your questions live:

12:00 p.m. ET, November 26, 2019

More than 1,000 people had to sleep in the Denver airport last night

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian

A little more than 1,100 passengers traveling through Denver International Airport had to stay at the airport overnight last night due to weather conditions and subsequent flight cancellations and delays, DIA spokesperson Alex Renteria told CNN.

Airport personnel handed out blankets, care packets, baby formula and diapers for passengers traveling with babies, Renteria said.

Restaurants at the airport stayed open longer than they normally would — in total, they were open more than 24 hours, she added. 

11:33 a.m. ET, November 26, 2019

This is the scene at Denver's airport

Denver International Airport tweeted video of crews clearing snow from runways.

The airport has gotten 7 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service.

FightAware reports that so far today, 257 flights out of Denver have been canceled. Another 200 into the airport have been canceled.