It’s that time of year when airports and highways are abundantly congested as hosts of travelers make their annual pilgrimage for turkey and stuffing. A pre-Thanksgiving storm could make travel more difficult for many, as some regions record severe thunderstorms, gusty winds, heavy rain and even snow at some high elevations.
A storm system developing across the middle of the country Monday morning will send a “surge of severe weather across the eastern two-thirds of the country over the next few days,” forecasters at the Weather Prediction Center said.
Whether it’s wintry precipitation or just plain wet weather, the storm system can affect travel during one of the busiest travel days of the year.
Here’s when to expect the weather and how it might affect travel plans.
Strong storms in the south
As the system develops and moves toward the Lower Mississippi Valley, there is a risk of severe storms from East Texas and parts of Louisiana this afternoon and moving into parts of Mississippi and Alabama overnight Monday.
Tornadoes, some of which can be strong, strong winds and hail are all possible during this period as these thunderstorms develop over the region.
The threat of severe storms will diminish on Tuesday, but an isolated tornado may still occur from Georgia to the Carolinas.
Wind, rain and some wintry weather in the northeast
Widespread showers and thunderstorms extending from the south to midwest are possible on Tuesday as the storm system moves rapidly northeastward during the evening hours.
On Friday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul urged caution ahead of Thanksgiving as “extreme winter weather” was expected to affect holiday travel plans across Western New York and the North Country.
While the previous forecasts might have hinted at some winter weather disruption this week, it doesn’t look like the impact will be that extreme.
Some areas may be cold enough to support some wet snow across the upper Midwest early Tuesday, reaching eastward into interior New England by Tuesday evening. Freezing rain may also occur, especially in the higher elevations.
The major metro areas along the East Coast will see mainly rain and wind from Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Such weather would cause only minor disruption to air traffic on a typical day, but its combination with an increase in holiday travel volume means there is a chance of longer delays on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning at major airports in the Northeast.
Most of the unsettled weather will have pushed off the East Coast by Wednesday afternoon, leaving a quiet Thanksgiving Day across most of the United States — and giving people something to be thankful for, even if it’s a bit belated.