The weather could cause problems for flights and roads during this holiday week
FOX Weather wants to keep you updated on weather conditions during one of the busiest travel times of the year. We take you day by day to help you plan some extra time on the trip, take another route or tell you where you can take your travel weather worries away.
If you’re hitting the roads or the air this week for Thanksgiving, you’re not alone. AAA predicted the Thanksgiving holiday would be the third busiest since records began being kept in 2000. More people have only taken to the roads twice before, in 2005 and 2019. The association says 55.4 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home this year, 49.1 million behind the wheel.
The Transportation Security Administration expects a record number of passengers this holiday season. Between Friday, November 17, and Tuesday, November 28, TSA expects 30 million passengers to arrive.
“We expect this holiday season to be our busiest ever,” TSA Administrator David Pekosky said in a statement. “In 2023, we have already seen seven of the 10 busiest travel days in TSA history.” “We are prepared for the expected volumes and are working closely with our airline and airport partners to ensure we are prepared for the busy holiday travel season. We will also do our best to maintain wait time standards of less than 10 minutes for TSA PreCheck lanes and less than 30 minutes for standard screening lanes.”
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A storm system is developing on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains and will bring snow and ice across mountainous areas of the four states. Don’t leave home without a windshield scraper on Monday. Snow can reach a foot above 8,500 feet.
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The snow diminishes by the afternoon in the mountains, but winds are still a problem. Winds are expected to reach 40 to 50 mph in Colorado on Monday. Strong winds, especially near Denver, have been known to cause ground stalls, delays and a bit of turbulence in and out of Denver International Airport. Strong winds are expected to blow across the central and southern plains as well.
The FOX Forecast Center warns of rough travel anywhere from Little Rock to New Orleans to Dallas.
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Gusty winds will also mean both hands on the wheel hitting highways. The Smoky Mountains are also seeing a windy Monday, with winds gusting up to 40 mph.
“The threat of severe storms will shift to the southeast, focusing on a corridor from Louisiana to Alabama. Severe storms are likely during the afternoon and evening hours,” the Fox Forecast Center said. “Far from being an extreme threat, heavy rain from Texas to Georgia could affect anyone traveling on roads, as well as some major airport hubs.”
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The TSA expects to screen 2.6 million passengers on Tuesday in time for the storm to move east.
“Widespread precipitation is expected across much of the eastern United States,” the center said. “As the main system moves into the Ohio Valley, the secondary system from Canada will dive southward, providing an additional boost to the ongoing storm. This will allow snow to fall across the Great Lakes, with mostly precipitation elsewhere.”
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The FOX Forecast Center warns that this will be the worst day for travel.
Although the severe threat has decreased, widespread heavy rain will dampen the dock from the Great Lakes to the Florida Panhandle.
More travelers will hit the air on Wednesday. TSA expects 2.7 million passengers to arrive on Wednesday as winds will continue to be an issue for the East Coast.
“As the system continues to move eastward, a secondary area of low pressure will likely form near the East Coast near the Jersey Shore early Wednesday morning,” the center said. “This new low would greatly enhance the effects of winds on coastal areas as they reach the coast before going out to sea.”
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“The day before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days on our roads. Travelers should be prepared for long delays, especially in and around major metro stations,” INRIX transportation analyst Bob Pescio said in a statement. “Knowing when and where congestion will arise can help reduce holiday traffic frustrations. Drivers are encouraged to use traffic apps, local Department of Transportation notifications and 511 services to get real-time updates.”
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Taking the road in the afternoon is a better bet for most I-95 corridors.
“Heavy rain will likely fall over most of the I-95 corridor Wednesday morning and will clear by midday,” the center said. “Near Boston and across Maine, we could see impacts lingering as the low sweeps up the coast, but the worst of the weather should be over by the evening hours.”
The precipitation could be preceded by rain in upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
Thanksgiving appears to be the calmest weather day of the week. So, any last-minute traveler is out of luck.
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“The only hot spot for some activity may be rain across East Texas, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast with some light rain moving into the area,” the Fox Forecast Center said. “This is not expected to have a major impact but could put a damper on the holiday.”
Friday to Sunday
A new storm is forming along the Rocky Mountains, raising the possibility of more stormy weather and high-altitude airport delays.
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The Southeast also welcomes another round of rain to darken Black Friday.
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Watch for slippery roads from Colorado and New Mexico through Houston.
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Sunday may be the heaviest travel day of the year. TSA is preparing to screen 2.9 million passengers on Sunday, a record number. The heaviest travel day to date was June 30, 2023, when agents screened just under 2.9 million passengers.
AAA warns against driving too slow on highways in Houston, New York, Portland, Oregon and San Francisco.
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