Plan now: Three big storms could snarl Thanksgiving travel

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Posted: Nov 21, 2019 1:19 PM
Updated: Nov 22, 2019 10:00 AM


According to AAA, 55 million people are expected to take to the roads, rails and skies during Thanksgiving week. But three big storms could slow your roll to grandma's house. Do keep in mind that Thanksgiving is a week away, and the forecast can change. But as of now, here's an early look at what you can expect.


Track the storms with CNN's storm tracker

A Storm will lash the East this weekend

A storm affecting the Southeast on Friday will ride up the eastern seaboard through the weekend affecting travel through Sunday.

  • Friday, showers and storms stretch through East Texas, Louisiana and much of the Southeast. There could be airport delays in Houston, Memphis and Jackson, with 1 to 2 inches of rain possible.
  • Saturday, rain continues to push east, bringing rain and snow to the Ohio Valley and heavy rain to the Southeast. By the afternoon, rain starts moving into the mid-Atlantic. There could be airport delays in New Orleans, Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, DC and Philadelphia. Rain of 1 to 2 inches is possible.
  • Sunday, rain continues for the Northeast with snow for portions of the Ohio Valley and west of I-95. Airport delays will include DC, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. Rain of 1 to 2 inches is possible with gusty winds.

Another storm will batter the Midwest Tuesday into Wednesday

Low pressure pushes east of the Rockies during the day on Tuesday, bringing a quick round of snow to the Plains before quickly strengthening and taking aim at the Midwest.

  • Chicago will start with rain Tuesday afternoon, then turn to snow late Tuesday. The snow should be out of Chicago by Wednesday morning.
  • Parts of Wisconsin and Michigan will get a round of heavy snow on Tuesday and early Wednesday before clearing out.
  • Behind the system, temperatures will drop 5 to 15 degrees. Much of the Midwest will have highs in the upper 30s to low 40s for Thanksgiving Day, with dry conditions.

The next system moves through the West Wednesday

An area of low pressure will pump moisture into California late Wednesday and throughout the day Thursday, leaving Thanksgiving Day gray and dreary.

  • A quick shot of rain for Northern California and the Bay Area is expected late Tuesday into Wednesday morning.
  • The heaviest rain will be in Southern California and Western Arizona -- including Los Angeles and San Diego throughout the day Wednesday and Thursday.
  • A quick round of snow will blanket the Sierras on Thursday.
  • Much of the rain and snow will be moving out of the Southwest by Saturday morning.
  • Snow is also forecast for the Rockies through Saturday.

What about the Northeast and Macy's Parade?

There will be a quick round of rain for the Northeast on Wednesday, but it should be cleared out by Thanksgiving Day.

Temperatures will drop about 10 to 15 degrees behind the front, so Thanksgiving will be cooler but closer to average.

So far, the forecast looks dry for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The start of the parade should be under partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the low 40s and a Northwest wind 10-15 mph. Highs are expected in the mid-40s.

Busiest travel season

AAA is expecting this year to have the second-highest number of travelers in at least a decade. The organization is predicting an increase of 1.6 million travelers compared to last year, with most people driving to their destination thanks to lower gas prices.

Wednesday is expected to have the most traffic congestion. Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Houston and San Francisco could see more than three times their norms.

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