A storm is moving across the eastern United States before Thanksgiving and its most widespread and significant impacts are expected Tuesday, threatening to disrupt holiday travel with severe thunderstorms, heavy rain and snow.
Live updates: Get the latest news on delays and disruptions as travel begins on Thanksgiving
At least two dozen states across the East, including major travel hubs from Atlanta to New York City, will face severe weather during two of the busiest travel days of the year.
More than 27 million people from Mississippi to Virginia are at risk of damaging storm surges from Tuesday’s storm system, according to the Storm Prediction Center.
As Tuesday progresses, heavy rain and gusty winds are expected to expand into the mid-Atlantic before dumping a wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow on parts of the Northeast. These conditions could make travel difficult during what is expected to be the busiest Thanksgiving travel period in years, leading to disruptions at airports in large hubs such as Atlanta, New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C.
But there is still room for optimism. The storm’s effects are expected to subside on Wednesday as it approaches the East Coast, leaving much of the central and eastern United States to enjoy a dry Thanksgiving Day.
Track the storm with more maps here.
The threat of severe weather continues Tuesday in the Southeast
The storm is expected to hit the southeast of the country starting Tuesday morning, which could bring damaging winds and possible tornadoes.
There is a slight risk, or Level 2 of 5, for severe storms in parts of the Southeast, including southern Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle, where the threat is highest, according to the storm center.
The threat of severe thunderstorms will shift east Tuesday afternoon and include parts of Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia until early Wednesday morning. Damaging wind gusts are the main concern, but some short tornadoes cannot be ruled out.
Rain will also be heavy at times from south Alabama to New Jersey.
Widespread rainfall of 1 to 3 inches is likely. Some areas, including Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, could receive more than 4 inches.
The storm is also worsening fire weather in Appalachia, which has been struggling with drought and wildfires. Winds from the storm intensified late Monday in the area and prevented beneficial steady rain from falling on the ground. This caused a fire and forced evacuations in a remote area of Tennessee near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
A wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow will dampen higher elevation areas in Pennsylvania Tuesday morning and southern New York Tuesday afternoon before pushing into parts of Vermont and New Hampshire in the evening.
Higher areas in the Adirondack Mountains and the Green and White Mountains will likely see snow accumulation Tuesday night.
As the sun rises in the Northeast on Wednesday, roads may be slick or covered in snow in parts of Vermont, New York and New Hampshire due to overnight snowfall.
The storm’s impact will diminish significantly Wednesday as it moves off the East Coast, dumping its final remnants over parts of New England. Snow will accumulate in Maine on Wednesday, with snow continuing to fall in Vermont and New Hampshire.
Thanksgiving Day will be considerably cooler and drier across the central and eastern United States as cold Canadian air settles in in the wake of the storm. The storm will begin building over the northern Rockies on Thursday and strengthen Friday to bring snow to parts of the Rockies, including Denver and Salt Lake City.
CNN’s Andy Rose contributed to this report.