Nightly News   |  November 26, 2013

Travel headaches abound as Thanksgiving approaches

Bone-chilling cold accompanied this week’s wet weather, which is resulting in hundreds of travel delays. Near Roanoke, Va., drivers were met with ice nearly a quarter-inch thick. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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>> good evening. it is already tonight a storm that stretches from the southern tip of florida up to nova scotia , and at its core, which is a moving target right now, it's dumping a ton of misery on several states. the timing of this storm could not be worse because of what it does on the ground and in the air to the business of getting around. 700 flight delays already, and this storm is just getting started. the satellite picture of the nation from space shows the expanse of it. tomorrow is the busiest travel day of the year. 43 million americans on the move. and while the storm is churning in the eastern part of the country, its effects, of course, will be felt all over. it's where we begin our coverage again tonight. nbc's tom costello is out in it in pittsburgh tonight. good evening.

>> reporter: hi, brian. in fact, in this area we used to have -- or did have snow earlier today. now we've got just the bone-chilling extreme rain and cold out here. you mentioned the delays. a hundred flight cancellations nationwide. we flew in today from atlanta , and we can tell you that it was a little bit of a rough go, and across the country everybody is struggling today. at the world's busiest airport in atlanta , a cold driving rain made for a miserable day on the ramp for robert cotton .

>> you have to dress in layers. you never know how long you're going to be outside.

>> reporter: inside, a rush of activity and just a handful of delays and cancellations. we're going to fly today atlanta to pittsburgh through the weather. we'll see how it goes. as the rain picked up, my flight was among those delayed.

>> i do apologize for this delay, and i hope to get you out of here and get you on to your holiday as quickly as possible.

>> reporter: waiting at the gate with me, stacy danko, trying to get home to youngstown.

>> the flight coming here was delayed from texas. our crew is coming from memphis, which is delayed.

>> reporter: but the wait didn't last long. total delay in atlanta about 90 minutes . now headed for pittsburgh . trading the rain in atlanta for a winter landscape on approach into pittsburgh . the airport blanketed by about an inch of snow.

>> never been this bad. we travel from school every year like this. never this bad.

>> reporter: further north in michigan, a sheet of icy led to a multi-vehicle accident near flint closing i-75 for several hours. near whitehall, a dashboard cam caught this truck jackknifing and barely missing an already-stopped car. near roanoke drivers were met with ice a quarter inch thick. while on long island in new york, trooper frank bendario has seen this before. a holiday rush and treacherous roads.

>> it's just going to be twice as congested, i would assume. and then factor in the weather and the flooding, it's probably going to create a lot of traffic and very slow going.

>> reporter: and still 36 hours till thanksgiving morning. yeah, the folks in new york and pennsylvania bracing for a lot of snow and a lot of rain. interestingly, i heard from quite a few parents concerned about their kids driving back from college. yet another thing to be concerned about. bri?

>> absolutely. tom costello starting us off from pittsburgh , thanks.