Christmas Week Storm: Torandoes, Rain, Snow Threaten Travel Chaos – NBCNews.com

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Good luck getting home for Christmas.

Delays began piling up at East Coast airports on Tuesday because of a storm system packing strong winds, thunderstorms, snow and perhaps even a tornado or two. Another system is threatening rain and heavy snow in the Northwest and Rockies.

Dozens of flights were scrapped at Philadelphia International and at LaGuardia in New York, and delays ran as long as two hours.

Farther south, the National Weather Service posted a tornado watch for parts of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas and warned of the possibility of 2-inch-wide hail. Roy Lucksinger, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel, said 3 to 5 inches of rain was possible across the South.

There were reports of at least two tornadoes Monday afternoon: One near Amite City, Louisiana, which caused tree and power line damage, according to the Weather Channel; and one near Valdosta, Georgia.

Image: Tornado damage in Tangipahoa Parish, in the Amite City area of LouisianaCourtesy of Tangipahoa Emergency

Tornado damage in Tangipahoa Parish, in the Amite City area of Louisiana on Dec. 23.

And Emergency Management officials in Mississippi said that tornadoes closed U.S. Highway 98, damaged multiple homes and left some 8,000 customers without power.

The East Coast system will pivot to the north on Wednesday, bringing heavy rain and gusty winds into the Great Lakes. Chicago and Milwaukee could see “significant” snowfall toward the end of Christmas Eve, Lucksinger said.

“At the moment the system could just clip Chicago on Christmas Eve with potentially heavy snow that would certainly disrupt flights,” Lucksinger added.

Meanwhile, a separate storm arriving in the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday is set to bring rain before moving across the Rockies. Salt Lake City could see up to 8 inches of snow on Christmas Day.

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— Alastair Jamieson and Hasani Gittens

First published December 23 2014, 2:59 AM

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