Holiday Travel Forecast Is Nasty
Central states, Gulf Coast brace today; East after that
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 25, 2012 5:59 AM CST
Roger McCreight, a hardware store employee, brings up bags of rock salt or customers Monday, in Maplewood, Mo., in anticipation of wintry weather.   (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Laurie Skrivan)

(Newser) – Forecasts of snow, sleet, and freezing rain threatened to complicate Christmas Day travel around the nation's midsection today as several Gulf Coast states braced for a chance of twisters and powerful thunderstorms. A blizzard watch was posted for parts of Indiana and western Kentucky amid predictions of up to 4 to 7 inches of snow. Much of Oklahoma and Arkansas braced under a winter storm warning of an early mix of rain and sleet later turning to snow.

Elsewhere, areas of east Texas and Louisiana braced for possible thunderstorms as forecasters eyed a swath of the Gulf Coast from east Texas to the Florida Panhandle for the threat of any tornadoes. Storms expected during the day today along the Gulf Coast could bring strong tornadoes or winds of more than 75 mph, heavy rain, quarter-sized hail, and dangerous lightning in Louisiana and Mississippi, the weather service said. Meanwhile, the East and central Great Lakes area could get lots of snow beginning tomorrow night and into Thursday.