Relatively Calm Conditions Predicted for Much of US for Thanksgiving Travel

Posted: November 24, 2021 9:40 am

If you are like millions of other Americans, you will be hitting the road this Thanksgiving holiday to visit friends and family while feasting on turkey and all of the fixings. Before you head out for your adventure, you are going to want to check in with the weather forecast in your area. Here is what you can expect in your neck of the woods in the coming days.

Relatively Mild Thanksgiving

After a year of extreme weather events, it looks like Mother Nature is going to be mostly cooperative for Thanksgiving travel. Forecasters are hopeful that a quiet weather pattern is settling in over much of the US for the busy travel day before Thanksgiving and the actual holiday. There will be a few pockets that see rain and snow while the rest of the US will be dry.

While Monday was a bit of a roller coaster of weather for the East Coast, the storm that was causing the disruptions is now safely offshore. As a result, conditions up and down the Interstate 95 corridor have improved over the last day.

Cold and Brisk Wind in Some Areas

Although it will be mostly dry for the bulk of the nation on Wednesday, a blast of cold air on the backside of the previous storm will deliver cooling temperatures to the Midwest and through the East Coast. In addition to the dip in the mercury, the wind will also pick up and produce much colder real feel temperatures. Temperatures will drop into the 20s at night in parts of the Appalachians and the Midwest. Nighttime lows will hover in the 30s for some areas of the Southeast.

The wind will be the biggest weather factor throughout the central US on Wednesday and Thursday. The lake-effect snow that pervaded the Great Lakes earlier in the week should be wrapped up. However, the strong crosswinds may still cause travel disruptions throughout the North Central US, particularly through Interstates 40, 64, 70, 80, and 90. This could make for a tricky trip if you are on the road to grandma’s house for the holiday.

These gusty winds may also cause airport delays. Cities most likely to see these delays at the hands of wind include St. Louis, Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland.

Southeast Freeze

The story for the Southeast will be a hard freeze in the overnight hours for the next few days. People should expect to wake up to freezing temperatures through Thanksgiving and possibly even on Friday. If you think you are escaping the cold up north by heading south for the holiday, you better check the local forecast at your destination.

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For example, lows in central Florida will be in the upper 40s to the lower 50s. It is a good idea to pack along some warm clothes if you are headed to Walt Disney World or any of the other popular theme parks in this region of the Sunshine State.

Residents of the South may also want to take care to ensure that pipes do not freeze if they are not at home to keep the heat going. The overnight lows throughout North Carolina and South Carolina are forecast to plummet into the 20s over the next few nights. It may reach freezing as far south as Atlanta.

Unsettled Weather for Texas

All will not be quiet for central and southern Texas on Thanksgiving Day. A storm is predicted to fire up throughout this region during the middle of the week, likely continuing through Thanksgiving. Meteorologists are predicting that the storm will dump heavy rain throughout the southern and eastern portions of Texas and well into Mississippi on Thanksgiving. While it is still too early to predict with certainty, the storm is forecast to weaken as it moves to the east on Friday.

However, the entirety of Houston, San Antonio, and beyond should be ready for heavy rain potentially complicating travel on Thanksgiving. Most areas in the path of this storm will see about one inch of rain with up to three inches possible in the hardest-hit areas.

Happenings Out West

While precipitation will be unlikely for much of the West Coast, the Santa Ana winds in Southern California may complicate Thanksgiving travel and events. A moderate Santa Ana event is predicted to pick up on Wednesday and last through Friday. The strongest wind gusts will likely happen outside of the Los Angeles basin with frequent speeds of 30 – 50 mph. Top gusts may reach as high as 80 mph, raising the risk of wildfires and posing potential hazards for travelers out on the road.

Northern California is in for a calm Thanksgiving holiday with no major weather events in the forecast. However, moving farther north, another parade of storms will hit the Pacific Northwest on Thanksgiving Day and into the weekend. These storms are forecast to bring rain and wind to Seattle and Portland.