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Fog, snow showers may slow travelers

It probably will be a white Christmas -- but you might not see much of it through the thick fog.

And the snow showers and freezing fog could continue to make life difficult for travelers throughout Christmas weekend.

The fog that blanketed the area Tuesday, stopping flights from landing and taking off at Tri-Cities Airport and keeping temperatures below the freezing mark, might move on this afternoon.

But it will be replaced with some snow. The forecast calls for one to two inches of the white stuff.

Then, National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Vescio said the fog might return.

"After that, it looks like at least patchy, dense fog right on into Saturday," Vescio said.

Temperatures should reach the mid-30s through the weekend and lows will drop to the mid-20s.

"I wish I had better news," Vescio said. "But it looks like a wintry mix on Saturday night and Sunday morning in the Tri-Cities."

No planes landed at the Pasco airport Tuesday, stranding holiday travelers. Those who came from outlying areas to catch a plane to spend Christmas with family were disappointed.

Lilly Chinn of Hermiston was planning to spend her 80th birthday next week with relatives at her son's home in Oakland, Calif.

"Everybody got over there except for me," Chinn said.

A friend dropped her off at the airport, but Chinn didn't find out her flight was canceled until her friend had made it back to Hermiston.

"If they told me at the beginning, I could have just gone back with my friend instead of waiting here for hours," she said.

She planned to stay with friends in the Tri-Cities and hope her rebooked Thursday flight will be able to take off.

Larry and Anita Bailey's flight to Los Angeles to spend the holiday with family also was canceled. The Kennewick couple waited in line about an hour before finding out that there weren't any flights they could get onto for days. They ended up getting a refund and were off to try their luck at a different airport.

The Baileys heard others talking about how planes weren't making it in or out of the airport, but all the arrival and departure boards still said "On Time" until right before flight time.

Flights got out early Tuesday morning, but nothing landed all day, according to Airport Manager Jim Morasch. Outgoing flights also were grounded after the early morning take-offs.

"Nothing has made it in or out," Morasch said. "Very rarely does it go all day long. It's pretty bad."

-- Photographer Kai-Huei Yau contributed to this report. He said it was wall-to-wall people in the terminal late Tuesday afternoon.

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