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Travel nightmare looms as storm system blamed for 11 deaths moves east

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DALLAS -

A wave of nasty weather is threatening to be a travel nightmare for millions of Americans looking forward to a Thanksgiving getaway.

The storm is moving east, dropping snow in Ohio and a layer of ice on parts of western Virginia.  Holiday travelers are getting worried.

According to AAA, more than 43 million people will travel this Thanksgiving. 

The bad weather already cancelled hundreds of flights in the southwest.  Forecasters say air travel will be tricky along the east coast over the next few days.

CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg says to avoid delays, people flying need to try to leave early.

“Some of the airlines are actually incentivizing them saying if you leave today not tomorrow we'll give you a fifty dollar bonus,” said Peter Greenberg, CBS News Travel Editor. “Just get out now, because its gonna get bad.”

Most people will drive.  Big cities like Pittsburgh are prepping streets ahead of the storm. Some are choosing to get off the roadways and hit the rails.

"The railroad is a little but more immune to some of the weather conditions that can make driving or flying or other modes of transportation a little bit of a hassle," said Craig Schultz, Amtrak.

Forecasters say conditions will improve just in time for an easier trip back home. The winter storm has already been blamed for at least 11 deaths.

It is time to check the forecast if you are planning holiday travel in the next few days.   The storm system that’s blamed for at least 10 deaths in the west and southwest is now making its way east. 

Temperatures stayed just above freezing in the Dallas area this morning, sparing drivers from the icy commute that forecasters anticipated.

But that didn’t help thousands of air travelers at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport where nearly 300 flights were cancelled as a precaution.   Dallas is a major hub, so a ripple effect could be felt across the nation just as people begin to head home for Thanksgiving.  

"I'm a truck driver we drive thru snow sleet everything every day and for me I don't see why it’s been so impacted here," said Leighann Prince, traveler.

The massive storm hitting Texas dumped heavy snow in parts of New Mexico and southwest Oklahoma.   Driving is treacherous. There have been hundreds of rollover accidents and a number of deaths.

Forecasters say the southeast and northeast are facing heavy rain and possible sleet during the next two days.

"To the west a chance for heavy snow fall. This would be across western New York, Pennsylvania and back into Ohio," said Eric Fisher, Chief Meteorologist, WBZ-TV.

That means a mess on the roads during some of the busiest travel days of the year.

The northeast is already experiencing a taste of winter with freezing temperatures and frigid winds.

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