TODAY   |  December 21, 2013

Strong storms creating a travel nightmare

An estimated 95 million Americans will travel for the holidays, and Mother Nature is already snarling those plans. A big storm system currently on the move is expected to cause issues from Texas to New England. TODAY’s Dylan Dreyer reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> the weather is set to wreak havoc across much of the states today. 68 million in the storm's path.

>> 13 states under flood watches or warnings and in the south, there is a very strong possibility of several december tornadoes. yes, that's very rare. but it could happen at some point today.

>> absolutely. the weather system , everyone is watching it very closely this morning to make sure their holiday travels go safely but it's affecting some people out there and it's affecting some people out there.

>> so much going on. an estimated 95 million people will either fly or drive this holiday season and there could be very, very dangerous conditions, both on the roads and in the skies.

>> reporter: with the holiday rush on, it was slow going in oklahoma city with an ice storm snarling traffic at the start of the weekend with a five car accident and similar scene in kansas and several other states. light drizzle that quickly turned into ice.

>> i wanted to get out before it got icy and even colder.

>> reporter: in washington state ten car pileup and across the states headaches.

>> temperatures will be falling and do so very quickly.

>> possibly a couple of thunderstorms as that front makes its way through the area.

>> reporter: in denver they had to wait for deicing on friday before taking off. on this first day of winter, they are digging out from 15 inches of fresh snow outside the national weather service in flagstaff. the slippery roads made it difficult to chicago's o'hare airport.

>> it did took a little while to get here because of the rain and it's gray and everything.

>> reporter: in wisconsin a green bay packers tradition 600 fans shoveling out lambeau field for 10 bucks an hour. there is so much going on right now. i'll break it down, first, with the setup. very, almost record high temperatures today and especially tomorrow. this is the warm air that is moving in out ahead of this front and here is your very cold air behind it. the slash of those two air masses that is going to cause a lot of weather. i mean, so much weather to the fact that we are looking at severe storms in one part of state over to the potential for ice and snow in another part of the state. but as for the severe storms , our strongest risk and the biggest threat of seeing perhaps some isolated tornadoes will be from extreme southwestern parts of kentucky right down into louisiana. in red, though, that is where we could see perhaps some storms that produce some very strong damaging winds as well, but it's this area from alexandria, louisiana, up into nashville, tennessee, we have to keep an eye out for the potential of tornadoes today. i also want to show you where the ice is. in fact, we could see the potential of half an inch up to an inch of ice in some areas, especially back through the st. louis area, right back into oklahoma and it's oklahoma where we could end up with a lot of heavy rain versus some snowfall and some ice as well. we are going to keep an eye as this storm system moves to the east but tonight and into tomorrow where we have up to a half an inch of ice, we could see several inches of snow on top of that from northern texas into chicago and parts of wisconsin could end up with a foot of snow. so there is just so much