MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Wednesday is expected to be the heaviest travel day on the roads, but the timing of a storm is causing concern. The National Weather Service advises Twin Cities travelers to adjust their plans.

The holidays are upon us, and deeply festive bell ringer named Garland Pankey is here to stay.  The devoted Salvation Army ringer will stay at his Richfield Cub Foods post till Christmas Eve, smiling through the storm.

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“It’s Christmas season, it’s really beautiful, though,” he said.

Beautiful is not how native Californian Shearod Osborne sees it; he has to travel.  He says he is “not ready, not at all.”

Early Thanksgiving shopper Judy Davis is indifferent; she rushed to Cub Foods to beat the storm. She’s staying home but it could get ugly for the 55 million Americans traveling this year.

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Tyler Hasenstein is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “We are confident that we are going to see at least a significant impact,” he said.

It’s a busy week for Meteorologists at the National Weather Service, who predict several inches of snow and strong winds.  “If you have any flights on early Wednesday morning that will be when the heaviest snow is falling as well as strongest winds, those two things as well would make it hazardous,” Hasenstein said.

Although air travel is expected to take a hit by this storm, the experts at the National Weather Service think that ground transportation will be most affected. He suggests staying off roads Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon because the turkey can wait but this storm won’t. “Make sure you have your emergency kit in your car in case you were to get stuck somewhere and have a backup plan in case things turn south and you want to have other arrangements,” he said.

A second round of storms is expected this weekend but he says its too early to predict.

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If you are flying, you can check with your airline to see if they’ll allow you to change your flight time without fees. As of now, Amtrak travel is still scheduled to stay on track.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield