Storm moves east, disrupting travel across the Southeast

NASHVILLE, Tenn. —A Christmas Eve snowstorm that blanketed parts of the Midwest was expected to bring rare Christmas Day snowfall to parts of the Southeast, prompting some airline flight cancellations and delays.

After dumping 9 inches of snow in Iowa by Friday morning, the storm was predicted to dip south into Tennessee and Georgia today, then move north Sunday. Winter weather advisories were in effect from Kansas east to Kentucky and from Minnesota south to Arkansas on Friday.

The National Weather Service said that for the first Christmas in 17 years, Nashville and Atlanta could get more than just a dusting of snow.

The storm was expected to intensify and move northeast on Sunday to the mid-Atlantic states and New England.

Delta Air Lines spokesman Morgan Durrant said 500 weather-related flight cancellations were planned for today nationwide.

Durrant recommended that passengers not travel on Christmas if they can help it.

The weather had not caused significant problems for the airlines Friday.

AirTran spokeswoman Judy Graham-Weaver said Friday evening: "Right now we aren't precancelling flights." The airline had canceled only two flights, from Atlanta to Washington, D.C., and Tampa, she said. Graham-Weaver added that a main focus Sunday in Atlanta would likely be de-icing planes.

Both airlines encouraged passengers to monitor their websites, and both offered to waive ticket-change fees.

The weather service predicted a mixture of snow and rain overnight in parts of the Southeast, with the threat of ice-covered roads.

Snow made traveling tough Friday in northeastern Iowa, where the bulk of the storm hovered.

Scott and Lori Whiting left Chicago for Colorado Springs with their nine children Thursday evening. By morning, they had only reached Des Moines, a trip that normally takes about four hours, Lori Whiting said.