A shifting weather pattern will bring a wide variety of weather across the nation for travel during the week of Thanksgiving, ranging from springlike warmth to winterlike cold with areas of severe thunderstorms, rain, snow and sunshine.
While no giant cross-country snowstorms are forecast, there will be weather trouble spots that could slow roadway travel or delay flights.
In a press release by the American Automobile Association (AAA), an estimated 46.3 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home during Thanksgiving with 41.3 million traveling by automobile and 3.6 million traveling by airlines.
A storm with mostly rain will ride a surge of springlike air from Texas to the Great Lakes and the Northeast this weekend.
The risk of severe thunderstorms including the potential for a few tornadoes will push eastward across the South during the weekend.
The onset of the rain will begin as a small amount of freezing drizzle in parts of the Midwest on Saturday. A thin layer of black ice can make for slippery spots for a time in Chicago, Detroit and Indianapolis.
The combination of rain, fog and low cloud ceilings can lead to travel delays from St. Louis and Chicago to Atlanta and Charlotte on Sunday. Similar problems will shift to Detroit, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City Sunday night.
Farther west, rainy weather will slow travel along the Interstate 5 corridor in the Northwest this weekend.
Farther inland in the Northwest, an area of snow will push southeastward with slippery travel along portions of I-15, I-25 and I-84, during Saturday into Sunday. The snow is forecast to stop short of Denver.
Early Next Week
Warmth that surges into the eastern half of the nation will be swept away in the Midwest and whittled away in the East.
During the first part of next week, showers and thunderstorms will occur near the I-95 corridor.
The steadiest rain will lift northward through Boston and the balance of New England on Monday.
Downpours are forecast to linger in parts of Florida beyond Monday.
As the colder air sweeps eastward through the Midwest Monday into Tuesday, areas of snow will develop, followed by a freeze-up of wet and slushy areas. A few inches of snow are possible around Minneapolis. Bands of lake-effect snow will develop.
More lake-effect snow could fall on areas hit hard by feet of snow this past week and flooding that may follow from Sunday to Monday.
Farther west, an area of snow will redevelop in parts of the northern Rockies, that may transition to a wintry mix and rain in some areas.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the biggest travel day of the year across the nation, and it appears the weather will cooperate for much of the nation.
A storm just offshore over the Atlantic Ocean will have to be watched for a track farther west. Temperatures will have not fallen enough to bring snow to the I-95 swath, but there is a chance of rain along a large part of the highway.
Patchy snow may affect part of the northern Plains and the Upper Midwest.
As cold air holds over much of the Central states and creeps into the Appalachians, most areas from the Rockies to the West Coast will be free of precipitation and generally sunny. Some rain may affect western Washington state.
On Thanksgiving Day, look for the cold to intensify over the Midwest with spotty snow, including lake-effect snow.
The Atlantic Seaboard will trend colder. There is a chance the storm at sea may affect New England with snow and rain.
The vast majority of the West will be warm with some sunshine.