11/26/2014 06:59 EST | Updated 01/26/2015 05:59 EST

'Weather Storm Cato' nor'easter threatens U.S. Thanksgiving plans

Atlantic Canada will feel strong winds later today, as a nor'easter bears down on the U.S. northeast, threatening people travelling to see friends and relatives for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday Thursday.

"The big story in Eastern Canada today though is the powerful nor'easter working up the U.S. east coast towards Atlantic Canada," said CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland about what The Weather Channel is calling weather officials are calling Weather Storm Cato.

"Precipitation will start as rain over southern Nova Scotia this afternoon, reaching the Halifax area shortly before dinner time."

Millions of Americans will be driving and taking flights Wednesday on what is regarded as one of the biggest U.S. travel weekends of the year.

For Boston, New York City and Washington, D.C., the nor'easter is expected to bring a slushy mixture and rain and snow and 50 km/h winds, with as much as 40 cm of snow in western Massachusetts, NBC reported.

"Travel is not going to be a lot of fun for people trying to get to Grandma's house on Wednesday," said Kevin Roth, lead meteorologist at The Weather Channel.

Major airports will be lucky to escape without significant delays, he said.  

Rainfall warnings are in effect for the southern tip of Nova Scotia, where as much as 60 mm of rain is possible by Thursday morning, Scotland reported.

New Brunswick tonight

"For Halifax, what initially starts as rain this late this afternoon could transition to a wintry mix inland tonight as the temp falls [including the risk for ice pellets] while to the west this system will be much more interesting for northwestern Nova Scotia, P.E.I and New Brunswick where winter storm warnings are in place," Scotland said.

Snow from this system will push into southern New Brunswick on Wednesday evening and night before it tapers off to flurries Thursday.

The warning calls for total snow and ice pellet amounts of 25 to 35 cm, and locally these totals may be even higher, Scotland reported.

A snowfall warning is also in effect for P.E.I and northwestern Nova Scotia for snow and ice pellet amounts of 15 to 25 cm.