Fox News Weather Center

US weekend travel: Storm to blast southern Plains; Rain to drench Northeast

A strong storm system strengthening over the southern Plains will snarl holiday travel across the region this weekend while bouts of rain drench the Midwest and Northeast.

Meanwhile, those traveling in the the Southeast, northern Plains, Rockies or West Coast will experience very few weather-related travel delays with dry weather expected.

JUMP TO: Snow and severe weather to slam the southern Plains| Rain to drench parts of Midwest, Northeast | Chilly air to grip the West, northern Plains

Snow and severe weather to slam the southern Plains

A storm system tracking out of the Southwest will gather strength over the southern Plains throughout the holiday weekend, producing a wide swath of weather ranging from severe thunderstorms to blizzard conditions.

This storm will spell trouble for travelers, affecting those from New Mexico to Iowa and to the coast of Louisiana.

One of the worst areas for travel in the United States this weekend will be in eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle where blizzard conditions will develop.

"The blizzard conditions could bring travel to a halt along parts of highways I-25 and I-40 in the region," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

People planning to travel in this part of the country this weekend should try to do so on Saturday before the snow and wind intensifies on Saturday night and into Sunday.

Once the snow starts, travel may be nearly impossible until the weather improves on Monday.

While snow may create some of the most extensive travel delays, the most widespread delays will be caused by torrential rain.

"A very heavy rain will develop Saturday into Saturday night from northeastern Texas through part of the Ohio Valley," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Edwards said.

"The rain can become quite a nuisance for folks traveling back home from Christmas celebrations," Edwards added.

Those with flights through major travel hubs such as Dallas, St. Louis, Indianapolis and New Orleans should anticipate flight delays due to the heavy rain, reduced visibility and potentially gusty winds.

Rain to drench parts of Midwest, Northeast

The first half of the weekend will be largely dry across the Midwest and Northeast for holiday travelers, but travel conditions will deteriorate heading into Sunday as a steady, soaking rain spreads across the region.

"A warm front will lift across the Northeast Saturday night into Sunday, bringing periods of rain and another surge of unseasonably warm air," Edwards said.

Some of the heaviest rain will set up along a corridor stretching from Cleveland to Boston while a lighter rain falls farther south around Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

The surge of warm air accompanying the precipitation means that snow will remain absent, even in the higher elevations of New England.

Even though snow will not be a factor, people hitting the road should still use caution. The amount of holiday traffic on the roads during torrential downpours can result in a higher chance for accidents to occur due to poor visibility or hydroplaning.

Chilly air to grip the West, northern Plains

Jack Frost will pay a visit to the West and the northern Plains for the first weekend of winter with chilly air entrenched over the regions.

Dry weather will accompany the chilly air for many areas, but a swath of snow will briefly dash the chances of easy travels in South Dakota and Minnesota on Saturday.

This snow is not expected to be as heavy as the snow in Texas, but it can be enough to cause slippery roads on Saturday before conditions improve on Sunday.

Despite dry weather over the West, those driving through mountain passes may encounter slowed traffic.

Recent storms have left behind an abundance of snow in the mountains with cleanup crews still working to clear some of the passes.

Holiday travelers on Thursday encountered delays at some of these mountain passes, including Snoqualmie Pass along Interstate 90 in Washington and Donner Pass along Interstate 80 in California.