A wintry storm dumped heavy snow and rain across the Southwest on Sunday and forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights in what could be a preview of nasty traveling weather for Thanksgiving.
Some parts of northern New Mexico were buried under nearly a foot of snow as a storm system blamed for killing eight people across the West continued east, also sloshing through Oklahoma and Texas.
The storm was expected to reach the East Coast possibly by Wednesday, the busiest travel day of the Thanksgiving holiday. More than 43 million Americans are expected to travel more than 50 miles for the holiday weekend, according to AAA.
"This is more of a January, February-type weather event," National Weather Service meteorologist Dennis Cain said of the storm as it crossed Texas, resulting in the cancellation of more than 600 incoming and outgoing flights at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, according to FlightAware.com.
Oklahoma, Arkansas and northern Texas were bracing for the worst of the storm early Monday, with a possibility of freezing rain.
"We think by Tuesday through Thursday, it's going to be fairly nice," said Cain, who works in the weather service's Dallas/Fort Worth office. "By Thursday, we should have quite a bit of sunshine. Should be no problem for people going to Grandma's house for Thanksgiving."
But the East Coast — parts of which were gripped by below-freezing temperatures Sunday — can't necessarily expect the same.
"The timing of the impending winter storm could not come at a [worse] time," AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said in a forecast for the East Coast that called for snowfall Wednesday from the Appalachians to New York's St. Lawrence Valley and northern New England.
"The potential exists for a foot of snow to fall from Bradford, Pa., to Burlington, Vt.," added AccuWeather.com meteorologist Eric Wanenchak.
Travel conditions were expected to be good for the rest of the country, according to AccuWeather.