Two major winter storms are set to disrupt the travel plans of millions of Americans headed to Thanksgiving Day destinations on jam-packed highways and airplanes Wednesday. 

Those living in the western two-thirds of the country have been hit with up to 30 inches of snow fall in Colorado and a ‘bomb cyclone’ pummeling the Northwest. The deteriorating conditions have forced the closure of interstates and canceled flights – just as 55 million set off for the holidays. 

The first storm front was moving across the upper Midwest, where it was forecast to clobber parts of Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota with almost a foot of snow and wind gusts of up to 50 mph, making travel difficult if not impossible, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

It also warned of possible winds of up to 60 mph and rainstorms across a wide swath of the central US from western Texas up through Missouri and into Ohio on Wednesday, as millions will hit the roads and board airplanes for the holiday.

A second storm was rapidly intensifying as it pushed toward Oregon and northern California, where damaging winds, coastal flooding and heavy mountain snows of up to 4 feet (120 cm) were forecast, the NWS said.

The front was also expected to dump heavy rain, threatening flash floods across southern California, from San Diego to Los Angeles.   

More than a foot of snow is forecast in parts of Wisconsin Wednesday. A number of schools have already canceled classes in the state as heavy snow and high winds caused worsening travel conditions.

The NWS called the weather set to batter the Northwest through Wednesday a ‘historic, unprecedented’ storm, with hurricane-force winds. 

A 100 mile stretch of Interstate 5 in northern California was closed in both directions Wednesday. Snowfall forced the closure between Yreka and Redding after vehicles spun out along the road. 

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A sidewalk cleaner brushes snow off the sidewalk on Superior Street in Duluth, Minnesota. Cold, blustery and snowy weather produced difficult travel conditions across the United States on Wednesday

A sidewalk cleaner brushes snow off the sidewalk on Superior Street in Duluth, Minnesota. Cold, blustery and snowy weather produced difficult travel conditions across the United States on Wednesday  

The map above shows the forecast nationwide from Wednesday morning 7am EST through Thursday morning 7am EST

The map above shows the forecast nationwide from Wednesday morning 7am EST through Thursday morning 7am EST

A storm bringing rain is expected to batter most of the East, the Great Lakes will be windy and gusty, the Upper Midwest will be snowy, and precipitation is expected in the West and Southwest on Wednesday

A storm bringing rain is expected to batter most of the East, the Great Lakes will be windy and gusty, the Upper Midwest will be snowy, and precipitation is expected in the West and Southwest on Wednesday 

AAA predicted that the number of travelers over a five-day stretch starting Wednesday will be the second-highest, behind only 2005, despite rising costs for a road trip. Wednesday evening shows widespread snow and rain is forecast

AAA predicted that the number of travelers over a five-day stretch starting Wednesday will be the second-highest, behind only 2005, despite rising costs for a road trip. Wednesday evening shows widespread snow and rain is forecast

By Thursday morning large swathes of the country will be hit by more snow, rain and icy conditions

By Thursday morning large swathes of the country will be hit by more snow, rain and icy conditions

HOLIDAY FORECAST

Wednesday, November 27: A storm bringing rain is expected to batter most of the East, the Great Lakes will be windy and gusty, the Upper Midwest will be snowy, and precipitation is expected in the West and Southwest. 

Thursday, November 28: The West and the Great Plains will be blanketed by either rain or snow on Thanksgiving.  

Friday, November 29: The massive storm system stretching from California through the Great Plains will move eastward. 

Saturday, November 30: The storm continues to move east, this time dumping rain in the Midwest and Southeast. Parts of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota are likely to see snowfall.  

A winter storm warning from just north of La Crosse to northeast Wisconsin was also in place. In far northern areas of the state, including Bayfield, Ashland and Iron counties, snowfall totals could reach as high as 20 inches. Elsewhere, six inches to 10 inches of snow was expected in northwestern Wisconsin. 

Snow is also falling fast in southern Minnesota, where 12 inches or more is expected during the busy travel period. A total of 35 flights had been canceled at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport as of Wednesday morning with another 60 delayed. 

And in Kansas roads are partially or completely snow covered after a storm dumped more than five inches. 

Thousands are also without power in Missouri as high winds whip across the state. Ameren reported that 17,871 customers were without service Wednesday morning, mostly in the St. Louis area. 

Blowing snow is making travel difficult in southern South Dakota where about two dozen school districts have canceled classes. 

And in Utah, a state trooper was forced to dive over a barrier to avoid a car after it lost control in icy conditions and slammed into center median. The incredible moment was captured on dashcam just as Trooper Riley Rugg jumped out of the way on Monday.     

When another car slammed into his cruiser from behind, it sent the patrol car skidding across the highway and into a concrete barrier, forcing the officer to dive for safety. 

Strong winds are also whipping up snow and hampering travelers in Nebraska and Iowa. Gusts could approach 60 mph as the storm heads northeast. A gust of 53 mph was reported Wednesday morning in Davenport. 

Far western Nebraska is shoveling out nearly a foot of snow, with drifts up to 16 inches deep.  

A pedestrian walks in downtown Minneapolis, Wednesday. Blinding snow is falling fast in southern Minnesota

A pedestrian walks in downtown Minneapolis, Wednesday. Blinding snow is falling fast in southern Minnesota

Signage outside Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is caked in snow Wednesday after a blizzard struck overnight

Signage outside Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is caked in snow Wednesday after a blizzard struck overnight

Travelers queue during the Thanksgiving holiday travel rush at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois on Wednesday

Travelers queue during the Thanksgiving holiday travel rush at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois on Wednesday

A man plows snow after a blizzard struck overnight on Tuesday in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Two major winter storms thrashing the western two-thirds of the United States on Wednesday appear set to disrupt the travel plans of millions of Americans headed to Thanksgiving Day destinations on jam-packed highways and airplanes

A man plows snow after a blizzard struck overnight on Tuesday in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Two major winter storms thrashing the western two-thirds of the United States on Wednesday appear set to disrupt the travel plans of millions of Americans headed to Thanksgiving Day destinations on jam-packed highways and airplanes

Travelers try to escape LA Tuesday night as this aerial image shows bumper-to-bumper traffic on a jam-packed highway

Travelers try to escape LA Tuesday night as this aerial image shows bumper-to-bumper traffic on a jam-packed highway

A satellite view of the storms battering the US on Wednesday morning as bad weather causes travel chaos for millions

A satellite view of the storms battering the US on Wednesday morning as bad weather causes travel chaos for millions 

Thousands of passengers were stranded at the Denver International Airport overnight as power outages on the West Coast, widespread road closures and huge pileups on icy roads, add to the mix of travel chaos for millions ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.  

About 10 inches of snow mixed with winds that limited visibility prompted the cancellation of about 30 per cent of the airport´s average daily 1,600 flights. 

A total of 491 flights in and out of the Denver airport were canceled as more than 700 flights were delayed on Tuesday. 

Southwest Airlines also canceled about 200 flights. Spokesman Brad Hawkins said it would take ‘a couple of days’ to get stranded passengers on other flights because there are few during the pre-Thanksgiving travel crush. That makes it hard for airlines to rebook passengers.

About 1,100 people spent the night at the airport, including many cadets from the Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs who either missed flights or wanted to get to the airport before road conditions deteriorated, airport spokeswoman Alex Renteria said.

By Wednesday morning Denver airport was reporting ‘operations have returned to normal’ but warned it will be a ‘busy day’. 

Forecasters said about 21 million people from the West Coast to the Great Lakes are under winter weather advisories and in Southern California and Arizona, another 17 million are under flash-flood watches. 

And the treacherous weather jeopardized travel plans for some of the 55 million Americans expected to fly or drive at least 50 miles from their homes for Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday, according to the American Automobile Association. 

It caused a more than 60-car pileup along Interstate 90 near Spokane, Washington on Tuesday. 

In Fort Collins, Colorado snowboarder Tyler Lugo was filmed being pulled along by a car in the snow on Monday. 

Lugo said: ‘We just love to ride anything, so when we can’t ride electric longboards, this is the next best thing.’ 

There are warnings of possible winds of up to 60 mph and rainstorms across a wide swath of the central U.S. from western Texas up through Missouri and into Ohio on Wednesday, as millions will hit the roads and board airplanes for the holiday

There are warnings of possible winds of up to 60 mph and rainstorms across a wide swath of the central U.S. from western Texas up through Missouri and into Ohio on Wednesday, as millions will hit the roads and board airplanes for the holiday

There are weather warnings in place with forecasters predicting high winds across Pittsburgh, Chicago and St Louis

There are weather warnings in place with forecasters predicting high winds across Pittsburgh, Chicago and St Louis 

The storm dumped a foot of snow in parts of Colorado and buffeted the Denver area with wind gusts of 45 miles per hour. Nearly 500 flights were canceled and more than 350 delayed at Denver International Airport by Tuesday afternoon. Temperatures show Wednesday got off to a chilly start across most of the United States

The storm dumped a foot of snow in parts of Colorado and buffeted the Denver area with wind gusts of 45 miles per hour. Nearly 500 flights were canceled and more than 350 delayed at Denver International Airport by Tuesday afternoon. Temperatures show Wednesday got off to a chilly start across most of the United States

Officials warned residents to stay off the roads until the accompanying high winds die down. By early Wednesday, 8.7 inches of snow was already on the ground in Prior Lake, 7.8 inches at St. Paul and 7.5 inches in Eagan.

Many school districts and universities, including St. Paul Public Schools, the University of Minnesota and University of St. Thomas canceled Wednesday classes as travel conditions deteriorated.  

Forecasters also say possible tornadoes struck communities in Mississippi and Louisiana during the overnight hours, leaving trees toppled and twisted.

The National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Byrd said crews from the agency were being sent Wednesday to the small community of Star, Mississippi, to assess damage from what was likely a tornado. He said crews were also being sent to Franklin and Madison parishes in Louisiana to investigate a possible tornado or tornadoes in those areas. There were no immediate reports of injuries. 

Travelers arrive at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Wednesday after a blizzard struck overnight. The storm had already closed highways across the region and canceled and delayed hundreds of flights in and out of Denver on Tuesday

Travelers arrive at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Wednesday after a blizzard struck overnight. The storm had already closed highways across the region and canceled and delayed hundreds of flights in and out of Denver on Tuesday

Blinding snow is falling fast in Minnesota, pictured Wednesday morning, where 12 inches is expected to accumulate during a busy holiday travel period. Officials warned residents to stay off the roads until the accompanying high winds die down

Blinding snow is falling fast in Minnesota, pictured Wednesday morning, where 12 inches is expected to accumulate during a busy holiday travel period. Officials warned residents to stay off the roads until the accompanying high winds die down

Thousands of passengers were stranded at the Denver International Airport (pictured) overnight as power outages, widespread road closures and huge pileups on icy roads, add to the mix of travel chaos for millions ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. A total of 491 flights in and out of the Denver airport were canceled and more than 700 flights were delayed

Thousands of passengers were stranded at the Denver International Airport (pictured) overnight as power outages, widespread road closures and huge pileups on icy roads, add to the mix of travel chaos for millions ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. A total of 491 flights in and out of the Denver airport were canceled and more than 700 flights were delayed

Snowfalls neared 12 inches in parts of Minnesota on one of the busiest travel days of the year. The first storm front was moving across the upper Midwest, where it was forecast to clobber parts of Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota with almost a foot of snow and wind gusts of up to 50 mph, making travel difficult if not impossible, the National Weather Service (NWS) said

Snowfalls neared 12 inches in parts of Minnesota on one of the busiest travel days of the year. The first storm front was moving across the upper Midwest, where it was forecast to clobber parts of Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota with almost a foot of snow and wind gusts of up to 50 mph, making travel difficult if not impossible, the National Weather Service (NWS) said

A Metro Transit light rail train heads toward downtown as snow continues to fall after a blizzard struck Minneapolis. The treacherous weather jeopardized travel plans for some of the 55 million Americans expected to fly or drive at least 50 miles from their homes for Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday, according to the American Automobile Association

A Metro Transit light rail train heads toward downtown as snow continues to fall after a blizzard struck Minneapolis. The treacherous weather jeopardized travel plans for some of the 55 million Americans expected to fly or drive at least 50 miles from their homes for Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday, according to the American Automobile Association

Oakland International Airport lost power for about 90 minutes Tuesday evening, shutting down its security checks and causing some flight delays and a couple of diversions. Angry passengers shared on social media that the Oakland airport was ‘running on minimal power’. 

One user tweeted: ‘Security lines are extended out the door, luggage turnstiles not working. It’s a complete mess.’ 

It’s unclear what caused the outage but it came as thousands of people in Oakland and further south lost power during the storm.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) imposed a ground delay at San Francisco International Airport on Tuesday because of the weather, cutting the number of arrivals in half. The airport reported several hundred delayed flights and about two dozen cancellations. 

Ezra Allen sleeps while waiting to board a flight to Tampa Bay at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Tuesday, Northern California and southern Oregon residents are bracing for a 'bomb cyclone' that's expected at one of the busiest travel times of the year. The storm had already closed highways across the region and canceled and delayed hundreds of flights in and out of Denver on Tuesday

Ezra Allen sleeps while waiting to board a flight to Tampa Bay at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Tuesday, Northern California and southern Oregon residents are bracing for a ‘bomb cyclone’ that’s expected at one of the busiest travel times of the year. The storm had already closed highways across the region and canceled and delayed hundreds of flights in and out of Denver on Tuesday

Oakland International Airport lost power for about 90 minutes Tuesday evening, shutting down its security checks and causing some flight delays and a couple of diversions. Passengers are seen at the airport on Tuesday following the outage

Oakland International Airport lost power for about 90 minutes Tuesday evening, shutting down its security checks and causing some flight delays and a couple of diversions. Passengers are seen at the airport on Tuesday following the outage 

The slippery roads caused a more than 60-car pileup along Interstate 90 near Spokane, Washington (pictured on Tuesday)

The slippery roads caused a more than 60-car pileup along Interstate 90 near Spokane, Washington (pictured on Tuesday)

Authorities said the six wounded people had non-life threatening injuries and were treated at a local hospital. This photo shows the travel chaos along Interstate 90 following the pileup

Authorities said the six wounded people had non-life threatening injuries and were treated at a local hospital. This photo shows the travel chaos along Interstate 90 following the pileup

This aerial image shows bumper-to-bumper traffic in Southern California Tuesday night

This aerial image shows bumper-to-bumper traffic in Southern California Tuesday night 

At least six people were injured after the vehicles crashed down the icy highway Tuesday, according to the Washington Department of Transportation, which subsequently shut down I-90. 

Authorities said the six wounded people had non-life threatening injuries and were treated at a local hospital. 

According to the NWS branch in Washington state, a fast hitting snow squall snarled traffic in the area, bringing more than half an inch of snowfall within 25 minutes. 

One person was killed, and two others were injured in a multi-vehicle crash in Colorado.

Colorado State Patrol Trooper Gary Cutler said a tractor-trailer jackknifed and was hit by two other semi-trucks and a pickup on Interstate 70 near Vail early Tuesday. One of the truck’s fuel tanks burst. A hazardous-materials team was called in to clean up the leaking fuel. 

Authorities said roads in the area were warm when the snow started falling, creating icy conditions as the storm strengthened.

According to the Wyoming Department of Transportation, more than 200 miles of Interstate 80 had to be closed due to the heavy snow.

Drivers in Wyoming and Nebraska are dealing with black ice, blowing snow and reduced visibility. 

A stretch of Interstate 70 near the state´s western border with Colorado was open again Wednesday after temporarily closing Tuesday at the height of the storm. Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Tod Hileman urged drivers in a tweet to ‘Stay put,’ adding that it ‘doesn´t look like fun!’ Many travelers took the advice, filling hotels in the area.

The National Weather Service says some of the heaviest accumulations were in Goodland, where 7.5 inches fell, and north of the small village of McDonald, where 9.5 inches was on the ground.

The map above shows the expected snowfall nationwide from Tuesday morning through Thursday evening

The map above shows the expected snowfall nationwide from Tuesday morning through Thursday evening

A strong storm dropped more than a foot of snow in parts of Colorado and Wyoming and prompted airlines to issue travel alerts Tuesday as the NWS warned of possible blizzards and wintry conditions from Colorado to Michigan

A strong storm dropped more than a foot of snow in parts of Colorado and Wyoming and prompted airlines to issue travel alerts Tuesday as the NWS warned of possible blizzards and wintry conditions from Colorado to Michigan

Another major storm is expected to descend on the West Coast over Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing 'bomb cyclone' conditions with over two feet of snow to the mountains in the Northwest and possible flash flooding in Southern California

Another major storm is expected to descend on the West Coast over Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing ‘bomb cyclone’ conditions with over two feet of snow to the mountains in the Northwest and possible flash flooding in Southern California

NWS meteorologist Brent Hewett in Chanhassen, Minnesota, said the Minneapolis-St Paul metropolitan area could see its biggest November snowfall in nearly a decade, and travel is northwestern Wisconsin ‘is going to be chaotic’.

WORST CITIES FOR DRIVING OVER THANKSGIVING 

  •  New York
  • Los Angeles 
  • Atlanta 
  • Boston 
  • Houston 

Source: AAA

In Minneapolis Delta prepared by filling de-icing tanks, calling in extra flight dispatchers and operations employees, and having some of its 20 in-house meteorologists focus on the forecast there.

‘The timing is very helpful,’ said Erik Snell, a Delta senior vice president who oversees operations. ‘It gives the airport time to clear the runways, although we’ll have to watch the residual snowfall in the morning.’

A raw, blustery day is forecast Wednesday, with winds up to 35mph. Forecasters said another storm could arrive this weekend, just as people are returning from Thanksgiving.

‘It’s one of those things, you couldn’t make it up if you tried,’ Hewett said of back-to-back storms falling around the holiday.

Many government offices closed in the Denver area and Cheyenne, Wyoming, along with colleges and schools not already on holiday break. 

Nearly two feet of snow - some of it left over from previous snow, was reported in Boulder on Tuesday morning

Nearly two feet of snow – some of it left over from previous snow, was reported in Boulder on Tuesday morning 

In Nebraska, several school districts canceled classes Wednesday, and the southwestern city of Sidney had received about eight inches of snow.

PASSENGERS TAKING TO THE AIR OVER THANKSGIVING

Wednesday: 2.98 million

Thursday: 1.79 million

Friday: 2.05 million 

Saturday: 2.82 million

Sunday: 3.10 million 

 Source: Airlines for America  

Multiple roads were closed in southern Oregon due to downed trees and power lines and blizzard-like driving conditions and others were reduced to a single lane, the Oregon Department of Transportation said.

The ‘bomb cyclone’ – a rapid drop in air pressure – could bring waves of up to 35 feet, wind gusts of up to 75mph and heavy snow in the mountains.

Angela Smith said the Oceanfront Lodge, a hotel she manages in Crescent City, in far Northern California, lost power briefly during rain and strong winds. She said the hotel is ready to withstand heavy downpours.

‘It’s blowing pretty good outside but because we’re right on the coast, everything was built to ensure the safety of people,’ Smith said.

Forecasters warned of ‘difficult to impossible travel conditions’ across much of northern Arizona later this week as that storm dumps about two feet of snow. 

The approaching storm accelerated the annual winter closure of the highway leading to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon by five days. 

The first storm moved into the Plains late Tuesday, bringing high wind and more snow to Minnesota, Wisconsin and upper Michigan. Minneapolis could see more than six inches of snow into Wednesday, along with wind gusts of 35mph

The first storm moved into the Plains late Tuesday, bringing high wind and more snow to Minnesota, Wisconsin and upper Michigan. Minneapolis could see more than six inches of snow into Wednesday, along with wind gusts of 35mph

Record-low temperatures are expected in several major cities on Thanksgiving thanks to the first of the two storm systems

Record-low temperatures are expected in several major cities on Thanksgiving thanks to the first of the two storm systems  

The second storm brought snow to the mountains and wind and rain along the coasts of California and Oregon on Tuesday. It's expected to move

The second storm brought snow to the mountains and wind and rain along the coasts of California and Oregon on Tuesday. It’s expected to move inland by the weekend

Several hundred protesters demonstrated on Century Boulevard near the Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday, making the already-congested area worse for holiday travelers. 

The protest forced police to close off westbound Century at Vicksburg, according to ABC 7. A total of 16  protesters were arrested for failure to disperse, police said.

According to the station, the ‘Raise LAX’ demonstrators were protesting for better wages and healthcare benefits for American Airline catering workers. 

The leading edge of the first storm system moved into the Mississippi River Valley Tuesday night with the potential for damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes in parts of Illinois and Missouri. 

It could bring another round of snow to the Upper Midwest from Thursday through Saturday, and a chance of snow this weekend in interior New England, according to NWS meteorologist Alex Lamers. 

‘That could be a coast-to-coast storm,’ Lamers said. 

It also could mean disappointment for fans of the larger-than-life balloons flown at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. 

Organizers were preparing for the possibility that they’ll have to ground the iconic balloon characters, given 40-50 mph gusts in the forecast. 

Rules put in place after several people were injured by a balloon years ago require lower altitudes or full removal if sustained winds exceed 23 mph and gusts exceed 34 mph. 

The decision will be made on parade day.

Meteorologists have warned that southern Oregon will likely see one of the coldest Thanksgiving Days on record following weeks of mild fall weather. 

Dangerous winds from the gathering storm on Monday flipped a tractor-trailer, downed power lines and temporarily closed a stretch of US Highway 6 south of Yosemite National Park near Bishop, California. 

That storm is expected to move inland by Thursday, crossing the US and landing on the East Coast by the end of the weekend.   

Weather warnings are in effect across more than half of the country, including major transport hubs such as Los Angeles, Denver, Minneapolis, and Chicago

Weather warnings are in effect across more than half of the country, including major transport hubs such as Los Angeles, Denver, Minneapolis, and Chicago

This month, AAA predicted that the number of travelers over a five-day stretch starting Wednesday will be the second-highest, behind only 2005, despite rising costs for a road trip.

At the start of the week, a gallon of regular cost $2.59, up three cents from a year ago, and rental cars averaged around $75 a day – their highest Thanksgiving price since AAA started keeping track in 1999. 

Hotel rooms are a mixed bag, with prices falling from last year at highly rated hotels but rising slightly at mid-range ones.

People might feel they can afford a trip because of low unemployment, rising household net worth, and the stock market´s continuing strength.

For those who are flying, the airlines expect traffic to be up about four per cent from this time last year. 

Utah state trooper helping a crash victim is forced to DIVE over a barrier to avoid a car after it lost control

A Utah state trooper assisting a crash victim had to vault a barrier to avoid an oncoming vehicle that had lost control on the icy roads.

The incident, caught on dashcam, shows Trooper Riley Rugg, who had pulled over Monday to help a crash victim on the side of the highway.

When another car slammed into his cruiser from behind, it sent the patrol car skidding across the highway and into a concrete barrier, forcing the officer to dive for safety. 

Utah State Trooper Riley Rugg (center) was assisting a crash victim on I-15 Monday night in icy conditions

Utah State Trooper Riley Rugg (center) was assisting a crash victim on I-15 Monday night in icy conditions 

Trooper Rugg's dashcam show the officer climbing the median to escape after his car is hit from behind. Five Utah troopers were hit responding to 350 accidents Monday

Trooper Rugg’s dashcam show the officer climbing the median to escape after his car is hit from behind. Five Utah troopers were hit responding to 350 accidents Monday 

‘He only missed me by a few feet,’ Rugg told Fox13.  

Rugg was taken to the hospital and released with minor injuries. 

Just 10 miles away, another trooper was struck by a vehicle due to the treacherous conditions. 

Trooper Harrison Coy was in his car waiting for tow truck to help clear an accident, when his cruiser was hit from behind. 

‘She [the driver] said that she was trying to brake, but her car wasn’t slowing down,’ Coy told Fox13. ‘She obviously was traveling too fast.’ 

Coy was also taken hospital, but only suffered neck and back pain, and was later released. 

 Reporting by Jerry Barmash for DailyMail.com

On Wednesday residents are likely to see considerable delays in airports across the country

On Wednesday residents are likely to see considerable delays in airports across the country

Thanksgiving Day is usually a light travel day for the airlines, but delays are still expected in the West as well as Texas

Thanksgiving Day is usually a light travel day for the airlines, but delays are still expected in the West as well as Texas

Most of the country will be blanketed by either rain or snow on the day after Thanksgiving, though the coastal regions are not forecast to be impacted by the weather

Most of the country will be blanketed by either rain or snow on the day after Thanksgiving, though the coastal regions are not forecast to be impacted by the weather

Saturday will also see substantial precipitation in much of the country, according to this graphic

Saturday will also see substantial precipitation in much of the country, according to this graphic 

Rain and snow in the Northwest, Midwest, Northeast and the South could stall travel at the end of the holiday weekend

Rain and snow in the Northwest, Midwest, Northeast and the South could stall travel at the end of the holiday weekend

A tractor trailer rests upside down after it left Highway 58, east of Oakridge, Oregon, under snowy conditions Monday

A tractor trailer rests upside down after it left Highway 58, east of Oakridge, Oregon, under snowy conditions Monday

Airlines added about 850 flights and 108,000 seats per day on average to handle the increase over last year´s crowds, according to the trade group Airlines for America.

Airline travel before Thanksgiving tends to be spread out over several days, but most people want to go home on the Sunday or Monday after the holiday.

American Airlines plans to operate 7,046 flights Sunday, just one less than on August 8, its heaviest schedule this year. 

In all, 22 of American’s 23 busiest days occurred during the summer vacation season, with this Sunday being the only exception.

Thanksgiving travel trouble: Unionized catering workers to stage protests at 16 major airports

Thousands of airline catering workers plan to stage protests at 16 of the busiest airports across the country on Tuesday as three million passengers are set to make an early jump on the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

UNITE HERE, a labor union which represents 300,000 workers in the hotel, airports, gaming, and food service industries, says the protests are aimed at pressuring American Airlines to boost wages and provide health benefits.

The demonstrations are not expected to have an impact on flights.

Airline catering workers say that American, which reported $1.9billion in profits last year, is the target of protests because the company determines wages and conditions through subcontractors LSG Sky Chef and Gate Gourmet.

Sky Chef, which was once a subsidiary of American Airlines, was bought and merged into LSG Sky Chef in 2001.

UNITE HERE, a labor union representing airline catering workers, will stage demonstrations at 16 airports nationwide on Tuesday. The above image is an undated file photo of a previous protest in San Francisco

UNITE HERE, a labor union representing airline catering workers, will stage demonstrations at 16 airports nationwide on Tuesday. The above image is an undated file photo of a previous protest in San Francisco

This past summer, three unions representing more than 25,000 catering workers who serve customers aboard American, Delta, and United flights voted overwhelmingly to strike.

But the unions are currently negotiating with the airlines through the National Mediation Board, a federal agency that must legally grant permission to UNITE HERE to strike.

UNITE HERE says that it will strike as soon as the agency releases it from mediation.

Last week, a union representing 2,700 caterers for United Air Lines voted unanimously to strike if ongoing negotiations fail.

D. Taylor, the president of UNITE HERE, told Forbes that the union doesn’t want to impact holiday travel.

Instead, he says the goal is to raise public awareness of the workers’ conditions.

‘We don’t want to affect customers,’ Taylor said.

‘We do want to get a message out. Our goal is to bring to light what’s going on with the plight of workers.

‘We’re trying to say that airline companies make billions and we want a piece of the American dream.’

Taylor said that even though American Airlines doesn’t directly employ catering workers, it has the power to improve wages and benefits.

‘You can’t take on every airline,’ Taylor said.

‘You have to deal with the largest. If American agrees that helps overall.’

The airline, for its part, says it is hopeful an agreement can be reached.

‘American Airlines respects and supports the rights of workers to join a union and bargain collectively – in fact, 84 per cent of our team members are represented by unions,’ American spokesperson Josh Freed said.

‘We believe in the collective bargaining process,’ Freed said.

‘We understand that a new contract will, ultimately, increase the costs to customers, including American.’

Reps for Gate Gourmet and LSG Sky Chefs said that while progress is being made in federally mediated talks, they criticized the union’s tactics.

‘We have talks scheduled in December and expect to reach a fair and competitive agreement at some point through continued federal mediation, as we have in the past,’ said Gate Gourmet spokeswoman Nancy Jewell.

‘Gate Gourmet has made significant improvements for our people in wages and benefits across the US,’ Jewell said. 

‘We are disappointed by the union’s unreasonable and unaffordable demands for wage increases and medical benefits which hinder the long-term sustainability of our industry, create unrealistic expectations and delay progress.’

A spokesperson for LSG Sky Chefs told Forbes: ‘Our negotiating team and a federal mediator have been working since May 2019 to negotiate in good faith with the union representing our employees.

‘Our company has offered improvements in wages and is discussing numerous other issues covered by our collective bargaining agreement.

‘We feel progress is being made with the help of the federal mediator. 

‘We remain committed to negotiating in good faith, and we hope that union members will act lawfully as they exercise their right to demonstrate or protest.’ 

UNITE HERE says that between 200 and 1,000 workers will be protesting at airports in 16 US cities on Tuesday.

They will stage sit-ins, marches, pickets, and die-ins in Charlotte Douglas International Airport; Chicago-O’Hare; Dallas-Fort Worth; Denver International; Detroit Wayne International; Inouye Airport in Honolulu; Houston Bush; Los Angeles International; Miami International; Minneapolis International; Kennedy Airport in New York; Philadelphia International; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle-Tacoma; and Washington Reagan.

UNITE HERE says that out of 4,100 Sky Chefs serving American Airlines at the company’s hubs, 30 per cent are uninsured while 35 per cent need government-subsidized health care for themselves or their children. 

Reporting by Ariel Zilber for DailyMail.com 

 



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