Snow and thunderstorms could affect holiday travel this week


As millions of Americans prepare to travel during the Thanksgiving holiday week, many must contend with rain, snow, blustery winds and frigid temperatures.

Over 5 million people from Michigan to New York are under winter weather warnings as additional lake-effect snow is expected on Sunday.

Meanwhile, rain and thunderstorms will be the top concern for some southern states.

More than 2 feet of snow has fallen over parts of Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota in the past few days, and a blockbuster 6 feet of snow has fallen in upstate New York. With temperatures unlikely to exceed the low 40’s for the next few days, there will be a lot of snow left behind.

The cold temperatures after the snow has ended can also be dangerous.

“On a day where it’s snowing fast, you’re almost blind driving,” Jonathan Guseman, meteorologist for warning coordination with the National Weather Service at State College, Pennsylvania, told CNN. “The snow melts on the freeway and then the cold blast of air behind the snow gust freezes the melted snow, creating what we call a flash freeze where it’s almost impossible to maintain traction and drive safely on the freeway.”

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This week, more than 70% of the US population (over 230 million people) will see temperatures at or below freezing.

Sunday begins with virtually all east of the Mississippi and most of Texas feeling more like January than November, with temperatures ranging from 10 to 20 degrees below normal.

St. Louis is forecast to have a high of just 40 degrees on Sunday — that’s their normal January high of 10 degrees.

Cincinnati is forecast to have a high of just 32 degrees on Sunday — 20 degrees colder than the normal high of 52 degrees.

Even a southern city like San Antonio isn’t much better. Her forecast is for Sunday highs to be just 49 degrees – her normal high is 70 degrees.

A series of storms will invade the Pacific Northwest this week, bringing rain to the coast and valleys and snow to the Olympic and Cascade Mountains.

“A weak weather system will move through the area late Sunday evening or Monday morning, followed by a stronger one Tuesday,” the Portland office of the National Weather Service said.

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The northern Rocky Mountains will also see precipitation probabilities Tuesday through Wednesday as the frontal system passes.

Rain accumulation is not expected to be very high, with most areas receiving less than 1 inch through Wednesday.

However, there will be a little more rain in the southern US this week.

A low-pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico is allowing rain showers across Texas on Sunday, pushing into Louisiana on Monday and Alabama and Georgia on Tuesday.

However, areas of Florida can rain any day Sunday through Wednesday, including Orlando, Miami, and Key West.

Overall, rain accumulations remain between 1 and 2 inches in Texas and Louisiana, but slightly higher along Florida’s east coast, which could increase as much as 3 inches by mid-week.

The Weather Prediction Center (WPC) warns that isolated flash flooding in urban areas could be a cause for concern.

The biggest weather concern in this holiday week should take place in the middle of the country from Thursday.

For now, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York should be able to go ahead without rain, but by Friday you might need that umbrella in the Northeast for all your Black Friday shopping.

“Several lows, including a possible Nor’easter, could cause significant rainfall in the eastern parts of the US late next week,” the WPC said this weekend.

This could bring rain/snow and uncomfortable travel conditions to many major cities east of the Mississippi through Saturday.

“Current forecasts suggest that winter rainfall is a better possibility for the interior Northeast, while metro areas along the I-95 corridor are more likely to get rain,” the WPC said.

However, stay tuned for future forecasts this week as details like snow or rain could change in the next few days.