Thanksgiving Week Travel Mess in the East?

According to AAA, about 43.4 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more during the Thanksgiving holiday travel weekend from Wednesday, Nov. 27 to Sunday, Dec. 1.

Of course, adverse weather conditions can play a huge role in causing travel headaches with so many people on the road and in the air. Last year, fog caused hundreds of flight delays and cancellations in Chicago and St. Louis on the day before Thanksgiving.

This year, Winter Storm Boreas may cause travel problems from the Southwest into the Northeast. We have the day-by-day forecast details below.

This Weekend

If you are traveling this weekend, Winter Storm Boreas will bring snow and ice to parts of the Southwest and the Southern Plains. Freezing rain and sleet will spread as far east as Dallas/Ft. Worth by Sunday. For more details about these threats, click here.

Elsewhere, gusty winds will spread across the Great Lakes and into the Northeast this weekend. It’s possible that the winds could cause some flight delays in the Northeast on Sunday.

Lake-effect snow may cause localized travel problems near the southern and eastern shores of the Great Lakes over the weekend. This snow could impact parts of I-90 in northeast Ohio, northwest Pennsylvania and western New York along with I-81 to the east of Lake Ontario.

For the start of the week, it appears the main travel trouble spot will be in the South. 

On Monday, low pressure is forecast to track near the Gulf Coast and bring rain and some thunderstorms from parts of eastern Texas to the lower Mississippi Valley. Some additional freezing rain and sleet from Winter Storm Boreas is expected from central Texas to eastern Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Elsewhere, some lingering light snow is possible in the southern Rockies. In the Great Lakes, an area of low pressure will bring light snow and gusty winds, but should not cause any major travel problems.

The rest of the country should see good weather conditions for travel.

(INTERSTATES AFFECTED: I-10 | I-20 | I-30 | I-35 | I-40 | I-49 | I-45 | I-55 | I-65)

(AIRPORTS AFFECTED: Houston | Dallas | San Antonio | New Orleans)

Low pressure will slide east near the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, hauling a large area of rain and thunderstorms from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Southeast and Middle Atlantic. Heavy rainfall and some severe storms will be possible from the Florida Panhandle to extreme south Georgia and southern South Carolina.

Depending on how far north the low in the South tracks, we could see some precipitation in the Northeast by Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Farther west, dry conditions will prevail in the majority of the U.S. from the Midwest to the Plains and West Coast.

(INTERSTATES AFFECTED: I-10 | I-20 | I-26 | I-40 | I-64 | I-65 | I-75 | I-76 | I-77 | I-79 | I-81 | I-85 | I-95)

(AIRPORTS AFFECTED: Atlanta | Charlotte, N.C. | Nashville, Tenn. | Raleigh, N.C. | Tampa, Fla. | Washington)

Forecast uncertainty is high along the East Coast for travel the day before Thanksgiving. Exact impacts will be determined by whether an area of low pressure tracks into the Northeast or stays farther out to sea. 

Our current forecast is based on the expectation that the low will track into the Northeast. This second phase of Winter Storm Boreas could result in accumulating snow for the interior Northeast. Meanwhile, the I-95 corridor of the Northeast would see rain, which would lead to some significant road and air travel delays in the region.

Once again, details such as where the rain/snow line will be and how much precipitation falls in the Northeast remain uncertain, so stay tuned for updates.

Rainfall seems like a good bet in parts of the Southeast no matter where the storm tracks. Some severe storms may continue in Florida and in coastal parts of Georgia and South Carolina.

In the central and western states, travel conditions appear to be in good shape overall with no widespread threats of rain or snow.

(INTERSTATES AFFECTED: I-20 | I-26 | I-40 | I-64 | I-70 | I-75 | I-76 | I-77 | I-80 | I-81 | I-85 | I-87 | I-90 | I-91 | I-95)

(AIRPORTS AFFECTED: Atlanta | Boston | Charlotte, N.C. | New York | Philadelphia | Raleigh, N.C. | Washington)

An early glimpse at the forecast travel conditions on Thanksgiving Day appears to be positive for a large majority of the country.

The storm system affecting the East on Tuesday and Wednesday should be on its way out to sea. However, there may be some lingering gusty winds in the Northeast as low pressure departs.

In the West, a weak frontal system may bring some light rain and mountain snow to California. 

Between these two weather systems, an area of high pressure should result in dry conditions for a large chunk of the country.

Temperatures will be anywhere from 10 to 20 degrees below average across the eastern half of the nation.

Dry weather conditions will dominate much of the country for those traveling or out shopping on Friday.

Some light rain is possible in Southern California, and a few snow showers may push through the Great Lakes, but otherwise the country should see little in the way of active weather.