East Coast snow strands RDU travelers; overnight lows to plummet

Posted October 29, 2011

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— The first wintry mix of the season blew into New York and Philadelphia Saturday, cancelling and delaying flights and stranding some passengers at Raleigh Durham International Airport.

"They said there was some trouble with JFK in New York because of snow," said Simona Ross, who was stuck at RDU trying to get home to Long Island. "I didn't know it was snowing in New York."

Vidya Nayak planned her vacation to India very carefully and never expected a weather event to get in the way.

"I chose October because I've seen this happen in November, December," she said. "This is just out of the blue."

Many travelers were hoping to be able to get flights out on Sunday, but the 20 flight cancellations and even more delays at RDU alone for destinations along the East Coast are making air travel especially uncertain.

RDU flights canceled, delayed as snow sweeps Northeast RDU flights canceled, delayed as snow sweeps Northeast

"It's a mess," Nayak said. "I just want to get on a plane and go to India."

The batch of precipitation causing snow up north soaked North Carolina with rain overnight Friday into Saturday, sinking high temperatures to about 20 degrees below the normal for late October. 

"It's fall, but it feels like winter," said WRAL meteorologist Kim Deaner. "Highs today are what we see in December."

Saturday's high only inched into the low 50s; Sunday should be slightly warmer, but still peak out below the 60-degree mark.

Serious cold will come to the Triangle in the overnight hours Saturday and Sunday, prompting the National Weather Service to issue freeze and frost warnings across the bulk of the state from late Saturday night until 9 a.m. Sunday. 

Those low temperatures can kill crops, house plants and other sensitive vegetation kept outdoors. Such plants should be protected from the cold weather.

By Halloween on Monday, the highs will be inching up to 60 degrees again, but overnight lows will stay in the 30s.

"It's going to be cold, for at least the next seven days," Deaner said.


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