Traveling for Thanksgiving? Stormy weather could snarl pre-holiday travel plans.
Ahead of what is expected to be one of the busiest Thanksgiving travel seasons in years, forecasters are warning of stormy weather that could impact flights and long road trips in the days before the holiday.
Rain, thunderstorms and winds from a storm system set to move across parts of the country will affect different regions between Sunday and Wednesday, with possible lingering effects on the holiday itself, AccuWeather meteorologist Brandon Buckingham told ÎÛÓ£ÌÒÊÓÆµ.
"The start of the potential for impactful weather in the form of severe thunderstorms really begins to ramp up during the afternoon and evening (Sunday) across the Southern Plains and then by the end of the day on Monday it's going to slide eastward into the Southern United States, then Tuesday across the Southeast," Buckingham said.
AAA, which tracks holiday travel, 55.4 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles for Thanksgiving between November 22 and November 26, making it the third-highest amount of travel over Thanksgiving since 2000, behind only 2005 and 2019. Most of those travelers, about 49.1 million, will go by road, AAA said.
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Early travelers heading out on Monday across the Eastern Seaboard and into the Great Lakes region should be spared some of the heavy rain and thunderstorms that might cause heavier traffic and delays later in the week, Buckingham said.
"A pre-Thanksgiving storm may bring travel impacts from the central to the eastern U.S. early next week," the National Weather Service said in an advisory. "Areas of severe thunderstorms, gusty winds, heavy rain, and heavy snow are all possible."
Thanksgiving Day itself and the days following should be be milder in most of the country, Buckingham said. Anyone with plans to hit the slopes and ski resorts in interior western states â€“ Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming â€“ are in for some good news Thursday and Friday with the potential for mountain snow.
Here's what you need to know ahead of your holiday travels:
Showers, thunderstorms expected in the South
The highest-impact weather on Monday is expected in the southern tier of the United States, including Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, according to Buckingham.
The storm system is expected to slowly press eastward into Tuesday, bringing with it a risk for severe weather, including thunderstorms, in parts of the South, he said.
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Steady rain could snarl flights, road travel in the East
The same storm system that impacted central and Southern states Monday and earlier Tuesday will shift toward the Eastern Seaboard later Tuesday, Buckingham said. During the day on Tuesday, a "shield of steady rain" coupled with winds will creep into the Northeast.
Tuesday night and Wednesday morning could be critical periods for major hubs in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast with heavy rain from Washington, D.C., to Boston.
"That could definitely slow down travel by road or by air during the day on Tuesday," he said.
From northeastern Pennsylvania through northern New England, there could be enough cold air at the start of rainfall for road conditions to be slippery with a mixture of ice and snow late Tuesday and Wednesday, according to .
Blustery winds on Thanksgiving Day might also pose some challenges for parades that include large balloons, Buckingham said.