An expanding area of snow, rain, wind and cold will hamper Thanksgiving travel in the West, while most areas east of the Rockies can expect no major weather-related problems during the early to middle part of next week.
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), 46.9 million Americans are expected to travel more than 50 miles or more away from home from Wednesday, Nov. 25, to Sunday, Nov. 29.
JUMP TO: Sun to Shine on Much of Eastern, Central US | Storm to Expand Winterlike Travel in West | Wind, Colder Air to Blast Southwest
The majority of people traveling over the eastern two-thirds of the nation should not have to contend with snow and ice on their ventures.
Thousands of miles of pavement along interstates 10, 20, 30, 35, 65, 70, 80, 81, 85 and 90 will be dry.
The major airports and smaller hubs from Atlanta to Boston, New York City, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., are not likely to experience direct weather-related delays.
An exception to the snow-free weather will be a round of flurries from northern Minnesota to western and northern New York state, northwestern Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio from Monday into Tuesday. However, the odds are against a significant snowfall.
With the exception of clouds and spotty rain showers in part of the Florida Peninsula through Wednesday, locations from coastal New England to much of the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi River can expect clear weather. Many people taking to the roads in this area will need a pair of sunglasses if they will be traveling by day.
Patchy fog may slow down morning travelers in parts of Texas on Tuesday.
By Wednesday, a southerly breeze may grab enough moisture to expand an area of low clouds and an outbreak of spotty drizzle to over a large part of the Plains.
In contrast to the benign travel conditions in the East and Central states, a storm will expand winterlike conditions through the West from next Monday to Wednesday.
According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, "We expect another large storm to roll from the Pacific and expand toward the Rockies during the week of Thanksgiving."
The first pockets of rain will break out along the Pacific coast from northern California to Washington on Monday.
Rain will expand southward and inland along the Pacific coast from Monday night through Wednesday. At the same time, heavy snow will develop in the Cascades, the northern Sierra Nevada, the Bitterroots and the northern Rockies.
Major cities whose airports could be adversely affected by the storm next week include Seattle, San Francisco and perhaps Salt Lake City.
"Snow levels will plunge in the coastal areas of the Northwest and will reach Seattle and Portland, Oregon, during Monday night into Tuesday," Anderson said.
Travel along parts of interstates 15, 25, 80 and 90 in the higher elevations of the West are likely to be slippery as snow levels lower. Blizzard conditions could develop in parts of Montana and Wyoming by Wednesday.
As the forward motion of the storm continues, the weather may clear in Seattle and other parts of the Northwest states during Wednesday.
According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark, "How much rain and snow the Pacific storm brings to the Southwest states is uncertain at this time, although the possibility does exist for significant amounts of both."
During Wednesday, spotty rain showers and locally gusty winds will swing across Southern California, southern Nevada and Arizona. Sporadic delays are possible in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix. Strong crosswinds may become a problem for high-profile vehicles, while turbulence may rattle some airline passengers.
"The weather will get cold enough for snow levels to dip to Cajon and Tejon passes in Southern California, as well as the high ground over I-40 in northern Arizona by Wednesday night," Clark said. "Snow showers would occur only if there is enough moisture available in the first place."
Colder air and gusty winds will spill southward over the Southwest next week regardless of the storm track. Temperatures are likely to be 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit colder on Wednesday, when compared to the start of the week.
People traveling through the mountain passes of the West should be prepared for winterlike conditions. Temperatures will dip into the teens with AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures below zero a times.