Fox News Weather Center

Labor Day Weekend Travel: Central US Storms May Cause Disruptions

While the weather over much of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts will be free of rain during much of this Labor Day weekend, a zone of unsettled weather will reach across part of the Central states.

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), approximately 35 million people will hit the roads and airports on the last unofficial weekend of summer. The number is the highest in six years for the holiday and may be associated with lower fuel prices and improving economic conditions.

The sunniest locations this weekend will be over the Southwest, along much of the West Coast states, part of the northern Plains and the middle part of the Atlantic Seaboard.

Two departing tropical systems, Cristobal in the Atlantic and Marie in the Pacific, will allow surf conditions to improve along the East coast and southern California coast respectively. Bathers and boarders entering the waters on Friday will still want to exercise caution and heed local restrictions.

A push of dry air from the west will greatly tone down the monsoon over the Four Corners region. Outdoor enthusiasts ranging from hikers to campers will have fewer worries of flash flooding and lightning strikes. However, the wildfire danger remains high over a large part of the West, and people are urged to be extremely careful with campfires, vehicles and power equipment.

The extreme heat and high humidity in recent days over the Midwest and lower Mississippi Valley will be chopped down to more seasonable levels. Heat will rebound over the central and southern Plains later this weekend.

A zone of showers and thunderstorms will develop over the northern Rockies and sweep toward the Plains. This area will grow in size and persistence from portions of Texas, the lower Mississippi Valley and Florida, northward to around the Great Lakes. Major travel hubs such as Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Orlando and Kansas City, Missouri, can be affected at times.

Folks traveling from coastal Texas to Michigan will want to make provisions for indoor activities for at least part of their weekend. Enough rain can fall and thunderstorms could be locally gusty in this zone, perhaps to the point to cause isolated flash flooding, sporadic power interruptions and travel delays.

Very spotty showers will affect coastal Washington state this weekend. A zone of clouds and showers is projected to sag slowly southward across upstate New York and New England.

By Labor Day, the unsettled weather may push farther east across the central and southern Appalachians to the mid-Atlantic coast. The eastward shift will allow clearing skies and improving outdoor conditions over part of the Central states.