KCI braces as powerful snowstorm heads east - KCTV5

KCI braces as powerful snowstorm heads east

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV/AP) -

A powerful winter storm is moving across the country creating sleet, snow and some twisters.

The weather will likely slow down millions of travelers who plan to head home from their holiday destination.

Many of those traveling will be coming in and out of the metro at the Kansas City International Airport in the next few days. So far, they are not dealing with many delays Wednesday morning.

However, that is not the case for those in the northeast. The storm system that unleashed damaging tornadoes in the Deep South and dumped snow and sleet on the nation's midsection is now working its way northeast.

The flight tracker FlightAware.com says more than 325 flights already have been canceled Wednesday in and out of airports that had been or soon will be in the path of the storm.

Blizzard conditions are forecast along a line stretching from Little Rock, AR, to Cleveland and some areas could get 10 inches of snow.

Drenching rainstorms rumbled across Georgia on Wednesday morning without causing any apparent damage. But Georgia Power officials said thousands of customers lost electricity in the state as the storm moved on toward the Carolinas.

On Christmas Day, the same storm whipped up numerous tornadoes in Louisiana and Alabama, knocking down countless trees and blowing the roofs off homes.

Oklahoma got snow, which caused many accidents, including a 21-vehicle pileup. Three people were killed by falling trees in Houston and in Louisiana.

Passengers are pretty much at the mercy of Mother Nature and the airlines. But there are a few things they can do to improve their odds of getting home quickly.

- If you miss your connection, the airlines will automatically rebook you on the next available flight. However, with flights at near capacity, the next open seat could be several days away. Two years ago, some Christmas fliers had to wait nearly a week to get home.

- If you're unhappy with your rebooked flight, get in line to speak to a customer service representative. But also, pick up the phone and call the airline directly, go onto the airline's website and even consider sending a Tweet.

- Consider buying a one-day pass to the airline lounge. It's a nice place to relax away from the crowd and there are usually free drinks and small snacks. But the real secret to the lounges is that the airline staffs them with some of its best - and friendliest - ticket agents. The lines inside will be much shorter and these agents are magically able to find empty seats where nobody else can. One-day passes typically cost $50.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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