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Rain and Snow Could Disrupt Thanksgiving Travel

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, travelers are being warned about potential disruptions caused by rain and snow. A pre-Thanksgiving storm is expected to sweep across the central and eastern United States, bringing with it severe thunderstorms, gusty winds, heavy rain, and even snow. The National Weather Service Prediction Center has issued alerts for parts of the country, including the Lower Mississippi Valley, where there is an enhanced risk of severe weather such as damaging winds, large hail, and tornadoes. New York Governor Kathy Hochul has urged caution and advised travelers to alter their plans as “extreme winter weather” is projected to impact travel in Western New York and the North Country. It is advised to avoid Wednesday as the main travel day to prevent potential road closures and delays. Despite the storm’s impact, Thanksgiving itself is expected to be mostly sunny, with cool temperatures.

Potential Disruptions

Storms and Weather Patterns

As Thanksgiving approaches, there is a potential for disruptive weather patterns across the United States. A pre-Thanksgiving storm system is expected to bring severe thunderstorms and inclement weather as it tracks from the central to the eastern United States. This system is being driven by a vigorous upper-level trough moving over the western United States. The National Weather Service Prediction Center has warned of possible severe weather, including damaging winds, large hail, and tornadoes, as the system moves towards the Lower Mississippi Valley. It is crucial for individuals to stay informed and prepared for potential storms and disruptions.

Severe Thunderstorms

One of the key components of the potential disruptions is the occurrence of severe thunderstorms. These storms can bring strong winds, heavy rainfall, and lightning, posing a risk to travel plans. It is important for travelers to closely monitor weather forecasts and heed any warnings or advisories issued by local authorities or the National Weather Service. By staying updated and taking appropriate precautions, individuals can mitigate the impacts of severe thunderstorms on their travel plans.

Gusty Winds

Gusty winds are another concern that may impact Thanksgiving travel. Strong winds can make driving conditions hazardous, especially for high-profile vehicles such as trucks and RVs. Additionally, strong winds can result in power outages and damage to property. Travelers should secure loose items and be prepared for potential road closures or flight delays due to high winds. Monitoring weather forecasts and checking with transportation providers or airlines can help individuals plan their travel accordingly and avoid potential disruptions caused by gusty winds.

Heavy Rainfall

Heavy rainfall can cause flooding and lead to road closures, particularly in low-lying and flood-prone areas. This can significantly affect travel plans, making certain routes impassable. It is crucial for travelers to stay informed about flood warnings and road conditions. If heavy rainfall is expected in the area, it is advisable to consider alternate routes or delay travel until conditions improve. Being prepared with necessary supplies, such as a roadside emergency kit, can also be beneficial in case of unexpected delays or roadside assistance needs due to heavy rainfall.


Snowfall is a potential disruption that could affect Thanksgiving travel, especially in regions where winter weather is prevalent. The Weather Service has indicated the potential for high-elevation snow in southern New England during the pre-Thanksgiving storm system. While snow can create a picturesque holiday scenery, it can also lead to hazardous road conditions and flight cancellations. Travelers should closely monitor snow forecasts, road conditions, and airline updates to determine if adjustments to travel plans are necessary. Planning for extra travel time and ensuring vehicles are prepared for winter driving conditions, such as having snow tires or chains, can help mitigate the impact of snowfall on travel plans.

Enhanced Risk of Severe Weather

The Weather Service has highlighted an enhanced risk of severe weather as the pre-Thanksgiving storm system moves towards the Lower Mississippi Valley. This includes potential damaging winds, large hail, and tornadoes. It is important for individuals in the affected areas to stay informed about severe weather developments and follow any guidance or warnings issued by local authorities. Taking shelter in a sturdy building and having an emergency preparedness plan in place can help individuals stay safe during severe weather events.

Damaging Winds, Hail, and Tornadoes

As the storm system progresses, there is a possibility of experiencing damaging winds, large hail, and even tornadoes in certain areas. These weather events can pose a significant threat to travel and property. Travelers should closely monitor weather forecasts and be prepared to adjust their travel plans accordingly. Seeking shelter in a secure location and staying away from windows and doors can help mitigate the risks associated with damaging winds, hail, and tornadoes.

Widespread Showers and Thunderstorms

By Tuesday, there is a chance for widespread showers and thunderstorms in the Midwest, Ohio Valley, and Tennessee Valley, before heading into the Northeast. These showers and thunderstorms can lead to localized flooding, reduced visibility, and potential flight delays. Travelers should be aware of the possibility of these weather conditions and plan accordingly. Checking with airlines or transportation providers and having a backup plan can help minimize disruptions caused by widespread showers and thunderstorms.

Caution Urged by Gov. Kathy Hochul

Governor Kathy Hochul of New York has urged caution ahead of Thanksgiving due to the expected extreme winter weather. She emphasized the importance of preparing for the worst-case scenario and warned motorists, homeowners, and travelers to alter their travel plans if necessary. The New York State Thruway, a major transportation route in the region, could be particularly impacted by the weather conditions. Travelers in Western New York and the North Country should heed the caution issued by Governor Hochul and take appropriate measures to ensure their safety and well-being during the upcoming holiday travel period.

Warning for Western New York and North Country

Governor Kathy Hochul’s cautionary message specifically highlighted the potential impact of extreme winter weather on travel plans in Western New York and the North Country. These regions of New York State should be particularly vigilant and prepare for the possibility of disruptive weather conditions. It is advisable for travelers in these areas to closely monitor local weather updates and follow any guidance or warnings provided by local authorities. Adjusting travel plans, if necessary, and allowing for extra travel time can help minimize the impact of the expected weather disruptions.

Travel Recommendations

Avoid Travel on Wednesday

Given the potential disruptions caused by the pre-Thanksgiving storm system, it is recommended that travelers avoid traveling on Wednesday, if possible. Governor Kathy Hochul emphasized that Wednesday could be a particularly challenging day for travel due to the extreme winter weather expected in certain areas. Traveling on a less impacted day, such as Monday or Tuesday, may provide a safer and less stressful travel experience. By planning travel around the weather conditions, individuals can minimize the risks associated with the potential disruptions.

Potential Risks and Hazards

It is important for travelers to be aware of the potential risks and hazards associated with the expected weather conditions. Some of the risks include severe thunderstorms, gusty winds, heavy rainfall, and snowfall. These weather events can lead to hazardous road conditions, flight cancellations, and potential power outages. By staying informed about the specific risks and hazards in their travel destinations, individuals can make informed decisions about their travel plans and take appropriate precautions to ensure their safety.

Preparation for Worst-Case Scenario

Governor Kathy Hochul’s warning about preparing for the worst-case scenario serves as a reminder for travelers to be proactive in their preparations. This includes having a well-stocked emergency kit in their vehicles with essential supplies such as water, non-perishable food, blankets, and a first aid kit. It is also advisable for travelers to inform friends or family members about their travel plans, including their intended routes and estimated arrival times. This way, someone can check on their well-being if they encounter any unexpected delays or emergencies during their journey.

Alteration of Travel Plans

Flexibility is key when it comes to navigating potential disruptions caused by severe weather. Travelers should be prepared to alter their travel plans, such as changing their departure or arrival times or even considering alternative modes of transportation. By keeping an eye on weather forecasts and staying informed about the latest conditions, individuals can make informed decisions about when and how to travel. It is important to prioritize safety and make adjustments as necessary to avoid unnecessary risks.

Possible Road Disruptions

Road disruptions are likely to occur in areas experiencing severe weather conditions. Flooding, snow accumulation, and icy conditions can render roads impassable or unsafe for travel. Travelers should stay informed about road closures or restrictions before embarking on their journeys. Checking with local transportation authorities, using navigation apps that provide real-time updates, and monitoring social media channels can provide valuable information about road conditions. By avoiding areas with known disruptions and planning alternative routes, individuals can minimize the impact of possible road disruptions on their travel plans.

Winter Weather Advisory

The Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for certain regions affected by the pre-Thanksgiving storm system. This advisory serves as a notification to individuals that winter weather conditions, such as snow, ice, or freezing rain, are expected or occurring. Travelers should take the winter weather advisory into account when planning their travel and make appropriate adjustments. This may include allowing for extra travel time, ensuring vehicles are equipped with winter tires or chains, and packing warm clothing and emergency supplies in case of unexpected delays or emergencies.

Caution for New York State Thruway

The New York State Thruway, a major transportation route in New York State, could be significantly impacted by the extreme winter weather conditions. Governor Kathy Hochul specifically warned about the potential risks associated with traveling on the Thruway during the expected storm system. Travelers should exercise caution when using this route and closely monitor weather updates and advisories related to the Thruway. If possible, considering alternate routes or delaying travel on the Thruway until conditions improve can help ensure a safer and smoother travel experience.

Sunny Forecast for Thanksgiving Day

Despite the expected disruptions leading up to Thanksgiving, there is a positive outlook for the holiday itself. The Weather Service office in Upton, N.Y., has forecasted mostly sunny weather with highs in the mid-40s for Thanksgiving. This forecast provides some relief for travelers, as it suggests favorable conditions for outdoor activities and gatherings. However, travelers should still remain vigilant and monitor local weather updates leading up to Thanksgiving. It is always advisable to be prepared for any unexpected changes in the weather and adjust plans accordingly.

Temperature Outlook

Below Average Temperatures

The temperature outlook leading up to Thanksgiving indicates below average temperatures in certain regions. Southern New England and the Mid-Atlantic region can expect high temperatures in the 30s and 40s, while the Mid-Atlantic region can anticipate temperatures in the 50s. These cooler temperatures may have implications for travel plans, as individuals should dress accordingly and prepare for potentially chilly conditions. Checking weather forecasts and packing appropriate clothing layers can help ensure comfort and minimize the impact of below average temperatures on travel plans.

Highs in the 30s and 40s for New England

Southern New England is expected to experience cooler temperatures leading up to Thanksgiving, with high temperatures ranging from the 30s to the 40s. Travelers in this region should dress warmly and be prepared for chilly conditions, especially if engaging in outdoor activities. Bringing hats, gloves, and thermal clothing can help individuals stay comfortable and protected against the colder temperatures. By staying informed about the specific temperature ranges and planning accordingly, travelers can mitigate the effects of cooler temperatures on their travel experiences.

50s for Mid-Atlantic Region

The Mid-Atlantic region can anticipate slightly milder temperatures, with high temperatures in the 50s leading up to Thanksgiving. While not as cold as some other regions, travelers in the Mid-Atlantic should still prepare for cooler conditions. Layering clothing and having a light jacket or sweater on hand can ensure comfort and adaptability to changing temperatures. By considering the specific temperature ranges and packing appropriate clothing, travelers can enjoy their journeys while staying comfortable in the cooler weather.

Potential for High-Elevation Snow in Southern New England

As mentioned earlier, there is a potential for high-elevation snow in southern New England during the anticipated storm system. Travelers heading to or through this region should be aware of the possibility of snow and its potential impact on travel plans. Snow can cause slippery and hazardous road conditions, leading to slower travel times and potential delays. It is crucial for travelers to monitor snow forecasts, road conditions, and local advisories to make informed decisions about their travel plans. Being prepared for winter weather conditions, including having snow tires or chains, can help ensure a safer and smoother journey.

Quiet and Cooler Weather for Thanksgiving

Despite the potential disruptions leading up to Thanksgiving, the holiday itself is expected to experience quiet and cooler weather in certain regions. The Weather Service in Boston has forecasted quiet and cooler weather for Thanksgiving and into the holiday weekend. This provides an opportunity for individuals to enjoy outdoor activities or gatherings while experiencing milder temperatures. However, travelers should still exercise caution, monitor local weather updates, and make necessary adjustments to their plans in case of any unexpected changes in the weather.

Weather Conditions for Holiday Weekend

As individuals plan for the holiday weekend following Thanksgiving, it is important to consider the potential weather conditions. While the forecast leading up to Thanksgiving suggests quieter and cooler weather in certain regions, weather patterns can still change. Travelers should stay informed about the latest weather forecasts and advisories to ensure preparedness. This may include packing appropriate clothing for varying temperatures, checking road conditions before traveling, and considering alternative activities if outdoor plans are not feasible due to weather conditions. Being adaptable and proactive in monitoring weather conditions can help individuals make the most of their holiday weekend.

About the Author

Johnny Diaz – General Assignment Reporter

Johnny Diaz is a general assignment reporter with experience covering breaking news. He has previously worked for the South Florida Sun Sentinel and The Boston Globe. With his expertise and background in journalism, Diaz provides readers with comprehensive and reliable information on various topics, including weather-related disruptions and travel recommendations. His commitment to accurate reporting ensures that readers can make informed decisions based on the information provided.

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