Many stranded, irate travelers tried to take advantage of a lull between snowstorms to get home by jet, car or train before another wallop of winter's wrath smacks the West and Midwest on Christmas Eve.
Weather service forecasters said more snow was likely Wednesday in the Midwest and Great Lakes, with up to 4 inches possible in Chicago. The Northwest was to battle its own snow and sleet storms, with 8 inches of snowfall expected in Spokane.
"We're seeing quite a bit of messiness out there," said National Weather Service meteorologist Ed Shimon, who's been at work at the agency's Lincoln, Ill., office for six straight days, a period when the state has seen snow, ice and subzero temperatures that were accompanied by wind chills of 20 below and more. "It's something different every day - never a dull moment."
At Chicago's airports, steady snow and wind caused problems Tuesday. More than 500 flights were canceled at O'Hare International Airport.
Travelers relying on train service also ran into weather-related delays caused by Amtrak's snow-packed track switches and other cold-related problems across the country.
Around 600 passengers in Chicago waited for up to 22 hours before finally boarding their delayed trains - the Lake Shore Limited, which was bound for New York, and the Seattle- and Portland, Ore.-bound Empire Builder.
"It's spoiled our Christmas, sure," 73-year-old Don Seifert said after he and his wife abandoned hope of spending the holidays in New York with their son and his family.
Over the past few days, both coasts have seen their share of record snowfall, reports Early Show weather anchor Dave Price. A winter storm dumped snow throughout Arizona Tuesday and another round is expected to last through Christmas Day.
But crowds of stranded travelers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport were drastically reduced, some Amtrak trains and Greyhound buses in the Pacific Northwest were running and motorists in the region found easier going Tuesday.
Most planes in Seattle are taking off on time, Price reports, but there isn't room for passengers left stranded by storms earlier in the week.
Greyhound officials opened service on Interstate 5 from Portland to Seattle and from Seattle to Spokane but not east of there. Portland to Boise service remained suspended.
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