The weather during the week of Christmas will closely mirror the weather during much of December thus far in the eastern and western United States.
People traveling in the East will not have to pack much cold weather gear, while a snow shovel and tire chains may come in handy for parts of the West. Many people across the nation will need a good set of windshield wipers, working headlights and an umbrella for their travel ventures.
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA) archives, of the approximate 100 million people who will take a year-end trip, about 90 percent will travel by automobile. Approximately 6 percent will travel by airline and the remaining 3-4 percent will travel by train, or water.
The weather could have major impact on the airport hubs of San Francisco, Denver, Chicago and New York City next week.
During the fourth week of December, storms from the Pacific will continue to bombard the West with outbreaks of cold air reaching southward toward Mexico and eastward through the Rockies.
Meanwhile, the week leading up to Christmas will bring another surge of warmth with areas of dense fog with patchy rain from near the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Seaboard.
JUMP TO: More Storms With Snow, Rain to Hit West | Weather Battle Zone to Set Up Over Plains | East to Bask in Warmth, Crawl Through Fog
Rounds of heavy rain will drench the West Coast and the Interstate 5 corridor from northern California to western Washington. Seattle, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, are among the cities likely to be impacted by adverse travel conditions at times next week.
Enough rain can fall at times to not only slow travel, but also continue the risk of flooding and mudslides from the western slopes of the Cascades to the shoreline of the Pacific.
There is the likelihood of one or two storms dipping well to the south along the Pacific coast with significant rain coastal and low snow levels in Southern California as well. Los Angeles and San Diego could experience travel issues on one or more days next week.
During the middle of next week, heavy snow could take aim at on the Colorado Rockies, including the Denver area.
From the Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic coast, the vast majority of travelers will not have to contend with snow or ice.
In portions of the Plains, the storm track will allow episodes of rain and snow in the north and the potential for locally gusty thunderstorms in the South.
Areas most likely to get a dose or two of accumulating snow next week will stretch from western Nebraska to northern Minnesota.
States most likely to get a day or two with locally heavy thunderstorms include Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
During the next week, at least two storm systems will sweep from the South Central states to the Great Lakes region bringing rain for much of the eastern half of the nation.
The rainy rounds can be enough to slow down travel on the many major highway corridors of I-10, I-20, I-40, I-80, I-81, I-90 and I-95.
However, the prevailing and recurring warmth will also present some significant problems.
"The major concern for travelers will be episodes of fog that could be dense enough to impact airlines and drivers from the Midwest to the East Coast during part of the week of Christmas," AccuWeather Chief Long-range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said.
Major airport hubs that could be impact by foggy episodes include Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston.
"There is a chance the fog will retreat northward and out of the picture after Wednesday from the lower Mississippi and Ohio valleys to the southern and middle-Atlantic coasts," Pastelok added.
Locally dense fog could still be a problem around parts of the Great Lakes and New England through the week.
Motorists are reminded to turn on their headlights when driving during rainy and/or foggy conditions, even in the daytime, to increase your visibility to other drivers.