Thanksgiving travel could be complicated by weather conditions, as forecasting models continue to show the potential for falling temperatures and a “significant storm” in the coming week.
Depending on where you live, it may be better to travel early, depending on the weather. Not everyone has flexibility in their travel plans, but if you can do it, this Friday and Saturday seem to be better days than Sunday to Tuesday.
“After a warm Thursday in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast with temperatures between 15 and 21 degrees Celsius, Friday will feel much more like November,” said CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward. “Friday highs will be colder -6 to -3 degrees Celsius and most locations will have a hard time getting out of 4 degrees Celsius.”
The only temperatures above average will be in the areas between Arizona and North Dakota.
Saturday, the best day to travel through time
The best day for you to travel maybe Saturday, as the vast majority of rainfall will only occur in the west between mountains. Rain and snow will occur in areas of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and western Colorado.
Starting Sunday, many more states will feel the impact of dangerous snow, ice, and winds.
From the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast, the rain will be the main threat, although sometimes snow showers will mix in areas of the upper Midwest.
Rain in Detroit, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Nashville, Memphis, and Pittsburgh can cause airport delays, as well as traffic jams on interstates and highways.
In general, rainfall accumulations are expected to be around an inch or less, but some isolated spots could increase by as much as two inches.
“Confidence is greatest in a period of fast to high winds from the upper Midwest to the east, Sunday through Tuesday and then possibly lingering in the Northeast thereafter,” says the WPC.
This Sunday, strong winds begin to pick up in the northern plains, moving toward the Midwest on Monday. This could lead to significant airline delays, as well as very bumpy flights in some locations.
Monday, possible flight delays
This Monday, the cold front will extend from New York to Florida, with rain and wind the main threats.
Cleveland, Chicago, and Detroit will experience strong crosswinds that could cause flight delays.
“Significant disruptions to airlines from the Great Lakes to the northeast are possible with winds of more than 80 km / h in some places,” says CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.
Even as far south as Knoxville and Atlanta, there could be gusty winds Monday.
“The models predict wind speeds within the jet stream of more than 305 km / h in some places,” Myers said. “Pilots will be looking for the smoothest air to fly, but many passengers will surely hear ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please keep your seat belts firmly fastened.’
This Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday there will also be quite a bit of wind in the northeast, which could cause flight delays in Boston, New York, and Washington.
By this Tuesday, we will have some persistent snow showers across the eastern Great Lakes, but we are also seeing a new low-pressure system moving west of the mountains. This storm will become the focal point of travel problems in the Midwest this Wednesday.
Keep in mind that there is still enough uncertainty in the evolution of this system to allow other possibilities regarding the types of precipitation because if the temperatures are warmer only a few degrees, it will mean the difference between snow and rain for various states.
Timing is also important because the European model pushes this storm a little faster, while the American forecast model is a little slower. Forward speed is also important in determining how long you stay in a particular area.
“Many of these details have less predictability several days later, especially since the supporting power is still over or near Alaska at this time,” WPC said.
Mother Nature could also confuse your rest days thanks to big changes in temperature.
From Cleveland to Miami, temperatures Tuesday will average -12 to -9 degrees Celsius below normal, making it feel more like Christmas than Thanksgiving.
Quite the opposite for the western mountainous and highland regions, which will be -12 to -6 degrees above normal on Tuesday, which resembles Halloween temperatures more than Thanksgiving.
Wednesday, a difficult day to travel
This Wednesday, there is a triple dose of travel trouble ahead. The first is the storm that may still linger in the Northeast and continue to bring rain, snow, and gusty winds that could make roads and runways a disaster.
The best snow potential would likely be from lake effect snow on the Great Lakes and throughout the Appalachians, from the Carolinas to the northeast.
The second will be the storm that will enter the Midwest. Rain, snow, and even ice are possible in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois, which could be very dangerous for both road and air travel.
The third is the system that moves through Mountain West. Snow showers are possible in Denver, Salt Lake City, and Cheyenne, Wyoming.
“Along with the northern level, the combination of low temperatures and wind would produce chills,” reported the WPC.
Thursday, Thanksgiving could feel more like Christmas
Hopefully, you’ve already reached your destination, but if not, the good news is that there are relatively few areas with bad weather.
Temperatures are mostly rebounding to normal this Thursday across much of the eastern half of the US, but keep in mind that “normal” can still be cold.
For example, New York will likely see temperatures below 4 degrees Celsius, so for anyone who can venture out to see the big morning parade, be sure to bundle up!
And the return home? While it’s too far away to get a good handle on the forecast for the weekend after Thanksgiving, two areas appear to have more potential than others for hazardous travel: the Pacific Northwest and the Gulf Coast region.