Nightly News   |  November 27, 2013

Icy rain and high winds accompany holiday travel

It’s a blustery Thanksgiving eve but – thankfully --- the worst-case weather scenarios didn’t become reality. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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>>> and country roads . a man and his trucken and a delivery route like none other in america. "nightly news" begins now.

>>> good evening. it's almost here, but a lot of folks are really going to have to work for it these last few hours before thanksgiving. it's because of a powerful storm in the east taking its time sliding to the north, as seen here from space. big enough and hittinging enough airports and cities to affect air travel from one end of the country to the other. take a look at the number of aircraft currently in the skies over this country -- about 6,000 flights. a lot of them are running way behind. the rush is bad enough without the storm. to be sure, it has hardly affected everybody. this is phoenix, arizona. this picture won't help at all if your flight into philly just got cancelled. we begin tonight with tom costello at the airport in washington . tom, good evening.

>> reporter: hi, brian. cold here. we have had thousands of delays, hundreds of cancellations. the numbers expected to build through the night. but on this day with heavy rain , high winds , some snow. it's been a treacherous day of travel for many people. tens of millions of people on the road and, for many, it's been bumper to bumper . in charlotte, traffic was so bad, some folks got out, making a mad dash for the airport.

>> are you trying to make your flight?

>> reporter: up and down the east coast , weather has dominated the local newscasts.

>> take a look.

>> with roads, traffic tracker.

>> reporter: on the i-95 traffic map, a lot of green but also red delays around washington and philly, including a deadly crash this morning on a flooded section of i-76.

>> what i'm going to do is start you a tow. he should be here within a half hour.

>> that's good.

>> reporter: in new york , highway help trucks have been out all day while amtrak trains and stations are packed. with freezing rain , airports as far south as knoxville were going heavy on the de-icing today.

>> i like my chances of getting there. i don't know if i will be on time.

>> reporter: icy rain and high winds lit up the misery map today. new york , d.c., atlanta, chicago. the most affected airports. on my flight from pittsburgh to d.c., the wind made for a very bumpy ride. back into washington is when the turbulence picked up.

>> the aircraft is leaving on time.

>> reporter: on the ground jetblue's command center , it was mostly smooth sailing for their flights in the nation's most congested air space .

>> this geography is challenging whether it's new york , boston, into washington . this area is some of the most challenging to operate in.

>> reporter: heavy snow fell in upstate new york leading to power outages in rochester. more snow in western michigan . but beautiful today out west in denver and san diego . while back at the pittsburgh airport , chad ott returned from a florida business trip .

>> i was able to get an early flight out. i'm just happy to be home.

>> reporter: just in time for thanksgiving. a little bit of good news if you're driving, gas prices are down 49 cents from the peak this year, down to $3.28 on average. that's across the country. so a little bit more change in your pocket. nice time of year for that to happen. brian?

>> starting us off on this blustery thanksgiving eve at washington