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Weather, Airport Strikes Could Affect Travel for Thanksgiving

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As more than 43 million Americans gear up Wednesday morning for the busiest travel day of the year, inclement weather and airport strikes may put a damper on Thanksgiving travels for some.

Those in the Pacific Northwest will have to brace for a soggy drive, as up to 10 inches of rain fell in parts of Oregon, up to 9 inches in Washington, and 6.5 inches in Northern California.  In Oregon, this was in some parts one of the top rainiest storms ever. 

A third storm system is moving through the West on Wednesday, producing more rain, but it will not be as heavy as Monday's rainfall.

Motorists along the East Coast can look forward to a smooth ride, as most of the weather looks calm from New York to Atlanta, with mild temperatures in the 50s in the Northeast and near 70 in Georgia.

Traffic, unsurprisingly, will not be quite as breezy, with family-filled cars expected to clog roads from coast to coast.

Dense fog that rolled into Chicago last night, combined with a light wind, clearing skies and a moist air mass, is now causing traffic delays across the area.

The top five cities bracing for the worst traffic on Wednesday are New York, Washington D.C, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, where holiday road trips are predicted to take 33 percent longer than usual.

And that's not the only headache in Los Angeles.  Airport union workers are preparing to strike Wednesday morning at LAX.  The workers, who are angry over terminated union contracts and eliminated health insurance, admit they could not have picked a worse day or a busier airport.

"It's a national day about being with your family and taking care of your family, and these workers are not able to do that," Andrew Gross Gaitan of the Seiu United Service Workers West said.

For the approximately 39 million travelers who are hitting the road by car on Wednesday, AAA recommends leaving as early as possible, and at the latest by 2 p.m., because by 5 p.m., the roads will be jam packed.  Rush hour is expected to peak two hours earlier than normal.

"With today expected to be the busiest day, and many people also working, we're expecting this evening there will be a lot of congestion," AAA spokeswoman Heather Hunter said.

There is, however a silver lining for motorists, as gas prices are down 5 cents in the last two weeks, with the national average for a gallon of regular fuel topping off at $3.41.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio