Storm makes for a soggy Christmas Eve, possible travel headaches

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NEW YORK (PIX11) -- A windy, warm and wet Christmas Eve is on tap for the East Coast.

Pockets of heavy showers will move in and out of the area Wednesday morning. Overnight, another round of showers and thunderstorms will sweep through.

Temperatures will continue to rise throughout the day thanks to strong southerly winds. Expect high temperatures near 58 degrees.

For Christmas Day, there will be rain in the morning and clearing in the afternoon with highs near 57 degrees.

It’ll be dry and cooler on Friday but still unseasonably warm with temperatures in the low 50s.

When the clouds finally move out, many areas will have been soaked by up to an inch of rain.

A flood watch is in effect for Ulster and Dutchess counties through Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service. Flooding is possible mainly along rivers and streams, and could be exacerbated by snow melt.

The storm system bringing this soggy Christmas to the East Coast is covering a quarter to a third of the nation, and could snarl holiday travel on the roads and in the sky.

Some 4,700 flights were delayed across the country Tuesday due to a tornado system ripping through parts of the South, with two-hour delays reported at LaGuardia Airport. Any flight delays Wednesday likely will be due to low ceilings or visibility issues.

Nearly all holiday travelers -- some 90 percent -- drive to their Christmas destinations.

Motorists are urged to give themselves extra time and travel cautiously as more Americans are expected to hit the pavement this year than last -- with about 98.6 million revelers journeying at least 50 miles to celebrate.

PIX11's Linda Church and Magee Hickey contributed to this report.