Holiday travel may be messy in the East

Posted at 7:18 AM, Dec 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-23 07:18:08-05

(CNN) — Pack a raincoat if you’re traveling for the holidays in the eastern United States.

A mix of rain, storms, wind and even a little snow is predicted for Tuesday and Wednesday, according to CNN meteorologist Michael Guy.

The wet mess may create problems for folks heading to grandma’s house.

Rain could cause flight delays of 15-45 minutes at the airports in Dallas; Atlanta; Tampa, Florida; Charlotte, North Carolina; the New York metro area; Philadelphia; Boston; Washington, D.C.; and Chicago, Guy said.

The chance of rain through Wednesday is 70-100% in Atlanta; Washington, D.C.; and New York City, the National Weather Service says.

Driving the I-95 corridor could become treacherous.

Severe storms may hit Gulf Coast

“Travelers should take precaution on the roads and give themselves extra time in case of accidents,” Guy said.

The Grinch-like weather is courtesy of a weather system spinning in the middle Mississippi River Valley. It’s expected to move slowly northeast over the next couple of days up into the Great Lakes Region.

Rain will be out ahead of the system, soaking the Southeast, the Ohio Valley and the Northeast throughout the day Tuesday.

At the same time, a weather system that formed in the Gulf of Mexico is pushing moisture north on Tuesday and Wednesday, creating heavy rain and winds up to 30 mph in the Southeast, Guy said.

The Gulf Coast could get the worst of it on Tuesday, with severe storms, damaging winds, large hail and possibly isolated tornadoes predicted.

“Christmas Day looks to be very quiet as most of the moisture will have pushed off the coast and into Canada,” Guy said. “There may be a few lingering snow showers across the Western Appalachians and interior New England. Winds will be strongest Christmas Eve night into Christmas morning for the Northeast as the front and system passes.”

Gas prices have dropped

The West will have its own travel problems.

Rain will hit the Northwest on Tuesday and move into the Rockies on Christmas day.

The weather may cause flight delays in Minneapolis; St. Louis; and Omaha, Nebraska, Guy said.

The National Weather Service says snow is likely in Denver; Missoula, Montana; and Jackson, Wyoming.

Add to that, cheap gas may put a lot of Americans on the road. The national average price of gas has dropped 69 cents a gallon from a year ago, now averaging $2.55, according to AAA.

CNN’s Monica Garrett contributed to this report.