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Holiday travelers on alert with snow expected across South

December 23, 2012|By Matt Pearce
  • Stranded motorists in Little Rock, Ark., in 2004.
Stranded motorists in Little Rock, Ark., in 2004. (Danny Johnston / Associated…)

A bit like Santa crashing through the roof, snow is expected to make a not-entirely-welcome appearance across the U.S. on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

More than 93 million people will travel an average of 760 miles during the holidays, according to AAA, the motorists' organization, and will encounter challenging weather across the country.

Some parts of Oklahoma, northern Arkansas and southern Missouri could see up to 6 inches of snow on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, according to AccuWeather.

PHOTOS: Good names for bad storms

Little Rock, Ark., Oklahoma City, Dallas and Fort Worth -- cities that get snow this time of year once a decade, if that -- could see a white Christmas, thanks to a storm system forming in the lower Plains.

The Northeast is expected to receive a more familiar deposit of an inch or three in some locations through Christmas, and even more when the lower Plains storm spreads northward from Indiana to Maine through the end of the week.

"Totals may even top a foot, especially farther north across the eastern Great Lakes and interior Northeast," AccuWeather said in a weather alert Sunday. "While great news for children and those wishing their communities to turn into a winter wonderland around Christmas, the snowstorm is sure to create a nightmare for travelers."

Forecasters also warned of strong winds in the Northeast with the potential to delay flights.

Christmas Day could include freezing rain in Arkansas, Virginia and West Virginia, as well as severe thunderstorms across the deep South, the National Weather Service said. Those storms, AccuWeather said, also bring the possibility of damaging winds and tornadoes along the northern edge of the Gulf Coast.

Nor is the Pacific Northwest immune. Heavy snow could hit Oregon and eastern Washington, forecasters said.

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