Americans traveling for Thanksgiving may have to deal with messy weather later this week.
While the weather looks to be largely calm across much of the U.S. through Wednesday, certain pockets of the country can expect rain (and perhaps snow) in the lead-up to, and after, Thanksgiving Day.
A cross-country storm is expected to move from the Pacific Northwest through the northern and central Plains, bringing wind, rain and snow to these parts of the country on Wednesday and Thursday, according to the latest short-range forecast from the National Weather Service.
Much of the snow possible in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies is expected for Tuesday and into Tuesday night, with the storm “spreading what’s left of its moisture over the Northern/Central Plains on Wednesday,” the NWS writes.
But on Thanksgiving — and in the days that follow — the weather is expected to get wetter in parts of the Plains, the South and along the East Coast.
In the South, storms are expected Thanksgiving Day, with heavy rains across portions of the Southern Plains and Lower Mississippi Valley beginning on Wednesday night and lasting into Thursday and Friday, according to the NWS. The NWS Weather Prediction Center also warns of rain and thunderstorms from Texas and Oklahoma to the Southeast.
Dave Longley, meteorologist with Nexstar’s WSYR, added that this moisture — which will be gathering across Texas — will result in “a wet Black Friday” across other areas, as well.
“That lingering moisture in the Southeast U.S. will team up with another bundle of energy coming out of Texas and into the Plains with an expanding area of rain over the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, the southeast U.S. and mid-Atlantic states Saturday,” Longley added.
Major flooding was said to be unlikely on Thanksgiving, though rains are expected in cities including Memphis, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; and New Orleans during the holiday, AccuWeather reported.
On the East Coast, the NWS says “meaningful precipitation” is also expected near the end of the week and possibly beyond, making return travel especially wet for those driving in the Northeast and Southeast, specifically.
“Low clouds and fog could result in flight delays at the major airports of the Northeast,” Longley added. “Roads will be wet and the fog could be especially thick where there is snow on the ground.”
The good news? Langley says severe winter weather isn’t expected through the end of the weekend.
“Winter reared its head across much of the country last week, but by and large cold and snow are gone for this holiday travel weekend.”
Thanksgiving travel, meanwhile, is expected to near pre-pandemic levels, according to AAA. Just under 55 million Americans are said to be traveling this year, with around 49 million of those reaching their destination by car.
“Regardless of the mode of transportation you have chosen, expect crowds during your trip and at your destination. If your schedule is flexible, consider off-peak travel times during the holiday rush,” says Paula Twidale, AAA’s Senior Vice President of Travel.