A major storm system stretching across the eastern United States is bringing heavy rain and snow as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches. The inclement weather, which can cause air and ground delays, coincides with the busiest travel period of the year when AAA expects 55.4 million people to head at least 50 miles from home.
Thanksgiving weather forecast: 10 cities where storms could cause travel delays
The storm began forming Monday, unleashing tornadoes and damaging thunderstorm winds in Louisiana and Mississippi while dumping torrential rains across the Mid-South and Tennessee Valley.
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Travelers will be most affected by this storm on Tuesday and Tuesday when there will be heavy rain in drought-affected areas of the Appalachian Mountains and mid-Atlantic, thunderstorms in the Southeast and snow in the interior Northeast.
On Wednesday, the focus of the worst weather will shift to New England, where rain and mountain snow could interfere with travel plans. Some heavy rain is also possible along the Southeast coast and across Florida.
Once Thanksgiving arrives, the weather should stabilize across much of the country, except for the northern Rockies and adjacent high plains. There, a rather large snowstorm is forming, powered by a blast of cold air.
Heading into the weekend, the chances of another damaging storm in the east have diminished from a few days ago but some rain is possible along the northern Gulf Coast and Florida.
Here are the forecasts for 10 cities that will be affected by storms during the Thanksgiving travel period:
ATLANTA — Rain and storms are a good bet during Tuesday and into Tuesday night, which could lead to flight delays in this travel hub. Thunderstorms could be locally severe with highs reaching the mid 60s and about an inch of rain falling. The weather will get colder on Wednesday and Thanksgiving, but should be rain-free.
Casper, Yu. Seeking a white Thanksgiving? Wyoming is the place to be. Winter storm watches are raised in large parts of the state, with 2 to 4 inches expected Thursday at low elevations and 6 to 12 at high elevations. Snow showers subsided Friday morning after temperatures dropped into the teens and single digits Thursday night.
Denver — The dry weather is expected to continue until late Thursday, with snow expected to fall as the sun sets. Regular snowfall is expected through Friday when several inches could fall with highs in the 20s. The snow should taper off by the end of the week as temperatures slowly moderate.
Destin, Florida — The risk of severe thunderstorms continues throughout Tuesday. There is some potential for damaging winds and possibly a tornado in the area. Highs on Tuesday will reach the mid 70s as up to an inch of rain falls during Tuesday night. It will be mostly cloudy and cool on Wednesday and Thanksgiving.
DETROIT — Periods of rain will continue until Tuesday night. About a half to three-quarters of an inch of rain is expected. Sunshine returns for Wednesday and Thanksgiving with highs in the mid 40s.
Montpellier, VT — A winter weather warning is in effect due to a wintry mix of precipitation. Snow is expected to fall most of Tuesday night, with the possibility of it falling below freezing and possibly several inches. The snow could change to sleet and sleet on Wednesday, bringing a sloppy mess and highs near 40. The precipitation should end before the weather turns colder on Thanksgiving and Friday.
New York City – Rain will develop at sunset on Tuesday and will continue to be heavy at times through the night. There will likely be about 1 to 2 inches in the metro area and across Long Island. The rain will end Wednesday morning as breezy conditions take hold. Lots of sunshine on Thanksgiving with highs near 50.
Portland, ME. — A mix of rain and snow develops Tuesday night, possibly turning to rain over time. Some spotting is possible as lows settle near freezing. Rain will fall most of Wednesday, with 1 to 2 inches expected. The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving ends mostly sunny with highs near 50.
TAMPA — While Tuesday will be mainly dry, there is a chance of showers or storms on Wednesday as a cold front moves through. While Thanksgiving is dry and pleasant with highs in the 70s, rain could approach the Florida peninsula on Friday as a weak storm passes through the Gulf of Mexico. Some rain may spread to the coastal Southeast and the Carolinas by Saturday.
Washington – Heavy, windswept rain will fall most of Tuesday into Tuesday night. Rain may be heavy at times, especially in the late afternoon and into the evening. About two inches are expected. Wednesday is clear but breezy, then mainly sunny for Thanksgiving with highs in the mid 50s.