Storm packed with rain and snow to disrupt Thanksgiving travel in the Midwest and Northeast
After several weeks of relatively calm weather across much of the central and eastern United States, a major storm that has been on AccuWeather meteorologists’ radar will pack rain, snow, wind and some ice just in time for some peak travel days before the Thanksgiving holiday. There is also the possibility that a separate storm could cause problems for some people returning home over the weekend.
Although the storm will provide some much-needed moisture to abnormally dry areas for building drought conditions, it will come at a bad time as millions of Americans will be traveling before Thanksgiving.
Between 55 and 56 million people will take to the roads, skies and rail for travel during the week around Thanksgiving, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).
AccuWeather meteorologists believe the greatest negative travel impacts associated with the storm will be Monday through Tuesday in the Midwest and Tuesday into Tuesday night in the Northeast, but some weather-related travel issues could continue into Wednesday.
The storm will be in a rising position over the south-central states Sunday into Monday.
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As the storm collects moisture in the Gulf of Mexico and the jet stream energy collides with an area of temperature contrast over the southern Plains through Monday, the rain area will expand and thunderstorms will develop. There is a potential for severe thunderstorms, including possible tornadoes, in parts of Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi from Monday afternoon into Monday night.
As the storm continues to move north of the severe weather area, heavy rain will extend from the central Plains into the Mississippi, Ohio and central Tennessee valleys on Monday and Monday evening, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Doty said.
Motorists should expect delays associated with rain and slippery roads on highways such as Interstates 40, 44, 55, 64, 70, 75 and 80, to name a few. The rainstorm will affect the cities of St. Louis and Nashville for most of Monday. During the afternoon, rain will spread to the Chicago, Indianapolis and Cincinnati metro areas.
As the storm continues to move, the rain will continue as well. The bulk of the heavy rain will likely impact the Pittsburgh and Atlanta metro areas Tuesday morning. Locally severe thunderstorms may increase weather-related delays around Atlanta.
Much of Tuesday will be wet in the region from the central Great Lakes to the Appalachians. Fog will cover the hills, and when combined with slick roads, dangerous travel conditions may result.
As the storm continues to move northeastward, it will gain some strength and winds will likely impact travel conditions from the mid-Atlantic to the eastern Great Lakes on Tuesday.
“High east-southeast winds averaging 25-35 mph with gusts of 40-45 mph could be a problem at some airports from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia and New York City, and will likely be worse.” Conditions as of late Tuesday afternoon.Airlines are likely to be delayed during this time due to wind, heavy rain and poor visibility, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tom Kennis said through Tuesday evening.
The same conditions will make for miserable road travel Tuesday in the mid-Atlantic I-80, I-81 and I-95 areas. Heavy rain may continue until late Tuesday afternoon in New York City and until late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning around Boston. Motorists should expect delays due to this storm. When combined with the expected high volume of traffic, any mishap or water buildup on some highways could result in significant delays and potentially miles of parked vehicles.
Weather conditions will be more favorable in the mid-Atlantic on Monday and Monday night — before the storm — and in the aftermath of the storm on Wednesday. The bulk of the rain will likely move out of Boston Wednesday afternoon, so conditions should improve for increased travel in the evening before Thanksgiving.
Airline passengers should keep in mind that because the storm, with its rain, winds and severe weather, may displace crews and aircraft, some flights may continue to be delayed or canceled even after the storm has left.
However, the storm will have a winter side as well.
As the rain slides toward the northeast, it will encounter a colder, snow-supporting environment from parts of northern Pennsylvania and upstate New York into central and northern New England from Tuesday night into Tuesday night.
“Motorists should expect some roads to become slippery, especially at the highest elevations in northern Pennsylvania and southern New York, but farther north from northern New York into northern New England, winter driving will likely be more generalized with accumulating snow,” Doty said. . .
3 to 6 inches of snow is expected to fall in the Adirondacks and Green Mountains, while 6 to 12 inches is expected to accumulate from central New Hampshire to much of northwestern Maine, where there is an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 15 inches of Tuesday night to Wednesday. The storm and its natural snow will likely put skiers in a good mood ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Some snow will also fall on the northern layer of the storm over the upper Midwest from parts of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula from late Tuesday into early Wednesday. In these areas, snow will mix with rain or turn into rain at times.
There will be a few pockets of ice associated with the storm, especially over the interior northeast. But instead of the more dangerous form of ice, which is freezing rain, some sleet will occur instead, with some exceptions.
However, forecasters are urging motorists to be careful when traveling on roads that appear wet when temperatures are near freezing. Elevated surfaces, such as bridges and overpasses, as well as areas shaded from the sun on a clear day, are likely to become icy first.
Since cold air is expected to move northward in the wake of the storm, lake-side snow will likely be brief Wednesday into Thursday. Temperatures are likely to return quickly by the end of the week.
Not only will much of the Midwest and Northeast be dry on Thanksgiving Day, so will most of the country.
AccuWeather meteorologists will be watching for potential travel issues next weekend when millions begin the journey home after the Thanksgiving holiday.
A storm is expected to collect moisture over the Gulf of Mexico and part of the southeastern states on Saturday. There is a possibility that this storm will make a track along the Mid-Atlantic and New England coasts on Sunday, with heavy rain possible along the coast and a period of rain or wet snow inland.
Above all, forecasters urge travelers to allow extra time to reach their destination, as the weather and traffic volume surrounding the holidays will add significantly to the duration of the trip.
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