"Extreme Winter Weather" Could Upend Thanksgiving Travel—What to Expect
Keep tabs on the latest forecasts if you're planning to visit loved ones.
In just a few days, friends and families across the U.S. will be getting together to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal. While some are lucky to have family nearby, others have to cross county or state lines to enjoy some turkey and pumpkin pie with their loved ones. But now, experts are issuing a warning ahead of the holiday, as "extreme winter weather" could wreak havoc Thanksgiving travel. Read on to find out what you should expect if you're planning to drive or fly out this week.
A storm is working its way across the U.S.
Forecasters are predicting troublesome weather conditions this week, affecting over 30 U.S. states, Fox Weather reported.
According to ABC News, a cross-country storm has already impacted the western U.S., and now, it's moving south, potentially causing "high winds and tornadoes," as well as downpours and hail, per a notice from the National Weather Service Prediction Center in Maryland.
This afternoon, northern Louisiana and central Mississippi will likely see severe thunderstorms, which are anticipated to hit New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama, tonight and into Tuesday morning, per ABC News.
The storm is also expected to reach the Great Lakes and the lower Ohio Valley on Tuesday, where it will coincide with another storm moving south from Canada. This could lead to snow in the Great Lakes, but Fox Weather noted that flurries may also fall in the Northeast and New England, albeit only at the highest elevations in the area.
Those in the Southeast and the mid-Atlantic should also prepare for severe weather on Tuesday, per Fox Weather. On Wednesday morning, heavy rain will be falling on the Interstate 95 corridor, but it is expected to slow down by the afternoon. Cities like Boston and areas of Maine could see stormy conditions for a bit longer.
The storm could result in dangerous driving conditions.
While the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is gearing up for the busiest holiday travel season in history, officials also have a word of caution for those setting out on the road.
AccuWeather predicts that pouring rain will leave many highways slick on Monday, including Interstates 40, 44, 55, 64, 70, 75 and 80. On Tuesday, the storm may also make travel on I-80, I-81, and I-95 difficult in the mid-Atlantic region. AccuWeather also reported that rain could hold off until Tuesday afternoon in the New York City area and Wednesday morning in Boston, and that drivers should be prepared for delays related to the storm at that time.
Citing the "extreme winter weather," New York Governor Kathy Hochul also issued a warning for New York holiday travelers, specifically.
"We are preparing for the worst-case scenario and warning motorists and homeowners and people now who will be traveling locally and outside the region to alter your travel plans," Hochul said late last week. "Do not make next Wednesday be your main day to travel or else you'll get stuck at home not able to travel, or on one of the roads or the New York State Thruway."
Air travel is likely to face some disruptions, too.
According to AccuWeather, high winds and heavy rain on Tuesday could disrupt airport operations at several major hubs in the Northeast.
"The stiff east-to-southeast winds averaging 25-35 mph with gusts of 40-45 mph can pose a problem at some of the airports from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia and New York City with the worst conditions likely from late Tuesday afternoon to Tuesday evening," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tom Kines said.
In addition, AccuWeather reported that travelers should be aware flights could still be canceled after the storm passes on Wednesday, as crews and aircraft may have ended up displaced due to the weather.
In a statement provided to ABC News, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said that officials are aware of the storm and staying proactive.
"While we can't control the weather, we will be using every tool at our disposal to keep cancellations [and] delays as low as possible in the first place—including working collaboratively with the airlines," he told ABC News.
The weather should clear up for Thanksgiving, but proceed with caution.
By Wednesday night, Fox Weather said the worst of the storm should be over.
For the actual Thanksgiving holiday, conditions will be largely dry and a bit chillier, CNN reported.
If you're leaving right after Turkey Day on Friday, you should be set with clear conditions. However, the weekend may pose a problem as another storm could move off of the East Coast, leading to rain and wintry weather in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, per CNN.