Thursday, April 24, 2014

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Busy travel week could be affected by winter storm

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Rochester: Busy travel week could be affected by winter storm
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The timing couldn't be worse. A powerful storm is making its way up the East Coast. It looks like it will hit New York State just days before Thanksgiving, during some of the busiest travel days of the year. YNN's Sarah Blazonis spoke to AAA about what to keep in mind if weather affects your plans.

UNITED STATES -- If you're one of the 43.4 million Americans planning to take a plane, train or automobile to your Thanksgiving destination, fellow travelers might not be your only obstacles this year.

"Not only is it a peak travel time, but you factor in winter driving conditions and really, this is one of the first large snow events of the season," said Diana Dibble, AAA Western and CNY Public Affairs Manager.

AAA projects 90 percent of people will hit the road for their travels. It's recommended drivers leave before rough weather's supposed to hit or plan an alternate route.

For those who might find themselves mid-trip when bad weather hits, either find a safe spot to exit the road or find a hotel if it's too dangerous to keep going.

When it comes to the 3.14 million people expected to fly this week, monitoring a flight's status through e-mail and text alerts might be the best bet to avoid getting stranded at the airport.

Dibble said, "Many of the airlines will proactively cancel flights if they anticipate a weather problem. You have to remember, this is a big storm system that's now impacting other areas of the country."

AAA says it's likely too late to buy insurance for any flights and a rebooked or refunded ticket would be the next step after a cancellation.

Amtrak says its 140,000 expected passengers likely won't be disappointed on Wednesday. A spokesperson says trains are expected to run as normal in the Northeast and Empire Corridors throughout the holiday. The company will notify people of any cancellations through its normal system.

"We notify our passengers through an automated system via phone, via e-mail and then our customer service representatives would work with them to re-accommodate them on a different train or provide a refund," said Amtrak Spokesperson Cliff Cole.

AAA says this is usually a tough time of the year to convince people to stay home, especially away from friends and family. But they urge that safety be the number one priority when it comes to this week's travel plans.

Our chief meteorologist tells us that it's too early to say exactly how this storm could impact our area.

AAA encourages all travelers to keep a close watch on the weather.

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