Travel weather gets tricky as many return home from Thanksgiving


People returning home from Thanksgiving festivities may encounter travel delays as a series of storms crisscross the country.

A strengthening cold front, followed by another fast-moving system, will impact many from the Plains to the Midwest, and even the Northeast.

The second storm could bring the first measurable snowfall of the season to many cities on the East Coast.

Rain, wind, and snow are all possible across the Northeast on Friday. However, major coastal cities along the I-95 corridor will see mainly rain.

Millions will still be impacted by snow across interior sections of New England through Friday, which is expected to clear out by Saturday morning.

Rain will impact much of the east coast on Friday as a strong cold front moves through.

Bur windy conditions will remain, with gusts potentially up to 55 mph for parts of the Northeast.

“Right now, we are looking at sustained winds at 15 to 25 mph, with gusts of 25 to 35 mph,” says the National Weather Service (NWS) office in New York City.

Wind is one of the main causes of travel delays in the late autumn and winter months, and this weekend will be no exception.

We could see airport delays on Friday due to wind and a few delays due to snow and de-icing in New England.

Cold temperatures will follow, impacting the vast majority of the eastern half of the country.

From Texas to Maine, temperatures will be anywhere from 5 to 15 degrees below normal on Friday and Saturday.

Morning low temperatures forecast for the next four days.

The Pacific Northwest will also be at risk for travel delays through Friday, with another atmospheric river event getting set to impact the area.

Heavy coastal rainfall and mountain snowfall are expected through Friday with a slight break in the evening hours.

Saturday’s weather travel hot spots

Major cities on the East Coast are off the hook Saturday, but parts of northern New England can still see snowfall.

Wind gusts are likely to reach 40 mph, but Saturday still looks like the better travel day in this region.

The central US will experience winds gusting up to 55 mph in some locations.

Cities like Minneapolis could see an excess of flight delays, as the winds strengthen during peak volume hours.

In addition, these winds whipping across the Great Lakes will likely force lake-effect snow into the weekend.

Sunday’s weather travel hot spots

By Sunday, a quick-moving storm system could bring a brief shot of snow to the Midwest and Great Lakes.

The snow could reach the Washington, DC, area late in the weekend, impacting flights as well as road travelers.

Some computer models are hinting at the possibility of the storm system intensifying off the mid-Atlantic coast.

Rain and snow accumulation forecast for this weekend.

If this scenario plays out, snow would develop in eastern Pennsylvania, reaching Philadelphia and possibly farther north into New York City.

Of course, the timing and exact locations that will see snow will change in the coming days, but it bears watching as we get closer to the end of the week.

In the Northwest, another system pushes through with more rainfall over the weekend.

Washington town sees 75% of homes damaged by floodwaters
This will add to the impressive rainfall totals that the region has seen in the month of November.

Seattle has already seen 8.40″ of rain in November, and the month will most likely end as one of the wettest.

Overall, the weather will have some impact on travel, but it won’t be the ginormous snarl of mounting airport delays we have seen some years.

Something to be thankful about, for sure.



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Thanksgiving travel could be tricky for some | National News


...HIGH WIND WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM MST THIS EVENING...

* WHAT...West winds 30 to 40 mph with gusts up to 65 mph occurring.

* WHERE...Portions of central, south central, and southeast Montana.

* WHEN...Until 6 PM MST this evening.

* IMPACTS...Damage to trees and fences expected. Widespread power
outages are possible due to downed power lines and may cause grass
fires. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile
vehicles.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...High winds and low humidities will bring
about enhanced fire weather concerns. Avoid causing a spark.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

Remain in the lower levels of your home during the windstorm, and
avoid windows. Watch for falling debris and tree limbs. Use caution
if you must drive.

&&



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Time travel for travelers? It’s tricky.


I’m stuck at home, you’re stuck at home, we’re all stuck at home. Jetting off to some fun-filled destination like we used to might not be in the cards for a little while yet. But what about travelling through time? And not just the boring way, where we wait for the future to arrive one second at a time. What if you could zip through time at will, travelling forward to the future or backward to the past as easily as pushing buttons on the dashboard of a souped-up DeLorean, just like in the movie Back to the Future?

Time travel has been a fantasy for at least 125 years. H.G. Wells penned his groundbreaking novel, The Time Machine, in 1895, and it’s something that physicists and philosophers have been writing serious papers about for almost a century.

What really kick-started scientific investigations into time travel was the notion, dating to the closing years of the 19th century, that time could be envisioned as a dimension, just like space. We can move easily enough through space, so why not time?

“In space, you can go wherever you want, so maybe in time you can similarly go anywhere you want,” says Nikk Effingham, a philosopher at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. “From there, it’s a short step to time machines.”

(Why are people obsessed with time travel? Best-selling author James Gleick has some ideas.)

Dueling theories

Wells was a novelist, not a physicist, but physics would soon catch up. In 1905, Albert Einstein published the first part of his relativity theory, known as special relativity. In it, space and time are malleable; measurements of both space and time depend on the relative speed of the person doing the measuring.

A few years later, the German mathematician Hermann Minkowski showed that, in Einstein’s theory, space and time could be thought of as two aspects of a single four-dimensional entity known as space-time. Then, in 1915, Einstein came up with the second part of his theory, known as general relativity. General relativity renders gravity in a new light: Instead of thinking of it as a force, general relativity describes gravity as a bending or warping of space-time.

But special relativity is enough to get us started in terms of moving through time. The theory “establishes that time is much more similar to space than we had previously thought,” says Clifford Johnson, a physicist at the University of Southern California. “So maybe everything we can do with space, we can do with time.”

Well, almost everything. Special relativity doesn’t give us a way of going back in time, but it does give us a way of going forward—and at a rate that you can actually control. In fact, thanks to special relativity, you can end up with two twins having different ages, the famous “twin paradox.”

Suppose you head off to the Alpha Centauri star system in your spaceship at a really high speed (something close to the speed of light), while your twin remains on Earth. When you come back home, you’ll find you’re now much younger than your twin. It’s counterintuitive, to say the least, but the physics, after more than a century, is rock solid.

“It is absolutely provable in special relativity that the astronaut who makes the journey, if they travel at very nearly the speed of light, will be much younger than their twin when they come back,” says Janna Levin, a physicist at Barnard College in New York. Interestingly, time appears to pass just as it always does for both twins; it’s only when they’re reunited that the difference reveals itself.

Maybe you were both in your 20s when the voyage began. When you come back, you look just a few years older than when you left, while your twin is perhaps now a grandparent. “My experience of the passage of time is utterly normal for me. My clocks tick at the normal rate, I age normally, movies run at the right pace,” says Levin. “I’m no further into my future than normal. But I’ve travelled into my twin’s future.”

(To study aging, scientist are looking to outer space.)

With general relativity, things really start to get interesting. In this theory, a massive object warps or distorts space and time. Perhaps you’ve seen diagrams or videos comparing this to the way a ball distorts a rubber sheet. One result is that, just as travelling at a high speed affects the rate at which time passes, simply being near a really heavy object—like a black hole—will affect one’s experience of time. (This trick was central to the plot of the 2014 film, Interstellar, in which Matthew McConaughey’s character spends time in the vicinity of a massive black hole. When he returns home, he finds that his young daughter is now elderly.)

But black holes are just the beginning. Physicists have also speculated about the implications of a much more exotic structure known as a wormhole. Wormholes, if they exist, could connect one location in space-time with another. An astronaut who enters a wormhole in the Andromeda Galaxy in the year 3000 might find herself emerging from the other end in our own galaxy, in the year 2000. But there’s a catch: While we have overwhelming evidence that black holes exist in nature—astronomers even photographed one last year—wormholes are far more speculative.

“You can imagine building a bridge from one region of space-time to another region of space-time,” explains Levin, “but it would require kinds of mass and energy that we don’t really know exist in reality, things like negative energy.” She says it’s “mathematically conceivable” that structures such as wormholes could exist, but they may not be part of physical reality.

There’s also the troubling question of what happens to our notions of cause and effect if backward time travel were possible. The most famous of these conundrums is the so-called “grandfather paradox.” Suppose you travel back in time to when your grandfather was a young man. You kill him (perhaps by accident), which means your parent won’t be born, which means you won’t be born. Therefore, you won’t be able to travel through time and kill your grandfather.

Multiple timelines?

Over the years, physicists and philosophers have pondered various resolutions to the grandfather paradox. One possibility is that the paradox simply proves that no such journeys are possible; the laws of physics, somehow, must prevent backward time travel. This was the view of the late physicist Stephen Hawking, who called this rule the “chronology protection conjecture.” (Mind you, he never specified the actual physics behind such a rule.)

But there are also other, more intriguing, solutions. Maybe backward time travel is possible, and yet time travelers can’t change the past, no matter how hard they try. Effingham, whose book Time Travel: Probability and Impossibility was published earlier this year, puts it this way: “You might shoot the wrong person, or you might change your mind. Or, you might shoot the person you think is your grandfather, but it turns out your grandmother had an affair with the milkman, and that’s who your grandfather was all along; you just didn’t know it.”

Which also means the much-discussed fantasy of killing Hitler before the outbreak of World War II is a non-starter. “It’s impossible because it didn’t happen,” says Fabio Costa, a theoretical physicist at the University of Queensland in Australia. “It’s not even a question. We know how history developed. There is no re-do.”

In fact, suggests Effingham, if you can’t change the past, then a time traveler probably can’t do anything. Your mere existence at a time in which you never existed would be a contradiction. “The universe doesn’t care whether the thing you’ve changed is that you’ve killed Hitler, or that you moved an atom from position A to position B,” Effingham says.

But all is not lost. The scenarios Effingham and Costa are imagining involve a single universe with a single “timeline.” But some physicists speculate that our universe is just one among many. If that’s the case, then perhaps time travelers who visit the past can do as they please, which would shed new light on the grandfather paradox.

(The Big Bang could have led to the creation of multiple universes, scientists say.)

“Maybe, for whatever reason, you decide to go back and commit this crime [of killing your grandfather], and so the world ‘branches off’ into two different realities,” says Levin. As a result, “even though you seem to be altering your past, you’re not really altering it; you’re creating a new history.” (This idea of multiple timelines lies at the heart of the Back to the Future movie trilogy. In contrast, in the movie 12 Monkeys, Bruce Willis’s character makes multiple journeys through time, but everything plays out along a single timeline.)

More work to be done

What everyone seems to agree on is that no one is building a time-travelling DeLorean or engineering a custom-built wormhole anytime soon. Instead, physicists are focusing on completing the work that Einstein began a century ago.

After more than 100 years, no one has figured out how to reconcile general relativity with the other great pillar of 20th century physics: quantum mechanics. Some physicists believe that a long-sought unified theory known as quantum gravity will yield new insight into the nature of time. At the very least, says Levin, it seems likely “that we need to go beyond just general relativity to understand time.”

Meanwhile, it’s no surprise that, like H.G. Wells, we continue to daydream about having the freedom to move through time just as we move through space. “Time is embedded in everything we do,” says Johnson. “It looms large in how we perceive the world. So being able to mess with time—I’m not surprised we’re obsessed with that, and fantasize about it.”

Dan Falk is a science journalist based in Toronto, Canada. His books include The Science of Shakespeare and In Search of Time. Follow him on Twitter.





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Snow may cause tricky travel Wednesday


Despite a cold start, all of Minnesota makes it back above zero Wednesday, while light snow will make roads slick.

Wednesday’s weather

The state is starting Wednesday with a large temperature contrast, ranging from near 30 below in northern Minnesota to temperatures near zero south. Part of this contrast is because clear skies and light winds allowed temperatures to drop more quickly north. Because of the cold north, even light winds could put wind chills at minus 35 at times, so most of northern Minnesota is under a wind chill advisory Wednesday morning. 

Even with the frigid start, the entire state makes it above zero by the afternoon, with highs in the single digits to low teens.

weather graphic

Wednesday high temperatures

National Weather Service

As of 7 a.m., a weak disturbance is already bringing light snow into southwestern Minnesota, and that brings light snow chances to most of the state through the morning and into the afternoon. 

Even though the snow remains light, with most places seeing under an inch, it will be enough to cause slick spots on the roads, so drive with care.

weather graphic

Wednesday’s snow forecast

National Weather Service

Temperatures continue their slow rise the rest of the week, and the state returns to above average warmth by next week. That extended forecast will be updated around 9 a.m.

Programming note

You can hear my live weather updates on Minnesota Public Radio at 7:48 a.m. Monday through Friday morning.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.



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Slick roads make for tricky travel Tuesday | News


CANTON (WFSB) – Residents are getting ready for another icy, messy week.

Public works employees are here late tonight getting ready for an icy morning.

They just received a salt delivery today, and tonight they’re out ahead of the storm.

“It’s been very busy, very busy,” Chris Johnson at the Canton Public Works Department said Monday night.

Tonight— workers are salting the roads.

Johnson, a maintainer, says he’s hoping for a quiet week- much different than the ones they’ve been dealing with this winter.

“It’s a long week because it’s not only the storm, it’s the week following doing all the cleanup,” he said.

People in the area are hoping for the same

“It’s been quite a surprise,” Darlene Davis of Simsbury said.

Davis travels for work—and says this winter has been tough to navigate.

“Just dealing with the storm when it comes down one right after the other and you don’t have a week in between- it doesn’t go away that fast so it makes it harder,” Davis said.

And these high school seniors say they’re ready for spring.

“Going to school you have to factor in ten minutes just to take snow off your car,” Ryan Laubscher of Simsbury said.





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