Weather forecast for Thanksgiving week may affect travel plans
Could the weather cause travel nightmares before this Thanksgiving?
AccuWeather has exclusive details of places in the U.S. where weather could cause travel headaches in the days leading up to Thanksgiving this year.
Ahead of what is expected to be one of the busiest Thanksgiving travel seasons in years, meteorologists are warning of inclement weather that could impact flights and long-haul ground trips in the days leading up to the holiday.
Rain, thunderstorms and winds from a storm system set to move through parts of the country will impact various areas between Sunday and Wednesday, with possible lingering impacts over the holiday itself, AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham told USA TODAY.
“The beginning of the potential for impact weather in the form of severe thunderstorms is really starting to build during the afternoon and evening (Sunday) across the southern Plains, and then by the end of Monday it will slide eastward to the south.” “U.S., then on Tuesday across the Southeast,” Buckingham said.
AAA, which tracks holiday travel, predicted that 55.4 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles on Thanksgiving between November 22 and 26, making it the third-highest amount of travel during Thanksgiving since 2000, behind only 2005 and 2019. About 49.1 million people will travel by land, AAA said.
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Early travelers heading Monday up the East Coast to the Great Lakes region should avoid some heavy rain and thunderstorms that could cause heavy traffic and delays later in the week, Buckingham said.
“The pre-Thanksgiving storm could impact travel from the central to eastern United States early next week,” the National Weather Service said in a warning. “Areas of severe thunderstorms, gusty winds, heavy rain and heavy snow are all possible.”
Buckingham said Thanksgiving itself and the following days should be milder in most parts of the country. Anyone with plans to hit the slopes and ski resorts in the Inland Western states — Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming — will get some good news Thursday and Friday with the potential for snow on the mountains.
Here’s what you need to know before your holiday trips:
Rain and thunderstorms are expected in the south
The most impactful weather on Monday is expected in the southern tier of the United States, including Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, according to Buckingham.
He added that the storm is expected to move slowly eastward until Tuesday, bringing with it the risk of severe weather, including thunderstorms, in parts of the south.
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Persistent rain can hamper flights and ground travel in the east
The same storm system that impacted the central and southern states on Monday and earlier Tuesday will shift toward the East Coast later Tuesday, Buckingham said. During the day on Tuesday, a “shield of persistent rain” accompanied by winds will creep to the northeast.
Tuesday night and Wednesday morning could be critical periods for major axes in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast with heavy rain falling from Washington, D.C., to Boston.
“This could certainly slow down travel by land or air during the day on Tuesday,” he said.
From northeastern Pennsylvania to northern New England, there could be enough cold air around the onset of precipitation to make road conditions slippery with a mix of ice and snow late Tuesday and Wednesday, according to AccuWeather.
Gusty winds on Thanksgiving Day may also pose some challenges for parades that include large balloons, Buckingham said.