AccuWeather forecasters say a wide-ranging storm could develop and move across the country, just in time to disrupt travelers on Thanksgiving and in the days immediately after the holiday.
AccuWeather Global Weather Center–November 17, 2022 – AccuWeather meteorologists are monitoring the potential for a significant storm to cause a slew of hazards across the eastern United States, including heavy rain, snow and gusty winds, next week with the potential for holiday travel disruptions in the days leading up to Thanksgiving — and impacts may continue beyond the holiday as well.
The adverse weather will initially develop as two smaller storms form and travel thousands of miles, impacting millions of people around the holiday from the nation’s midsection to the East Coast. Travelers in parts of the Midwest and Northeast may need to factor in the potential for wintry weather in their travel plans later in the week.
For those getting a head start on their holiday travel this weekend into Monday, people in a large swath of the nation will enjoy quiet weather conditions, and the vast majority of people will encounter few weather-related travel issues.
One of the ingredients for this potentially significant storm, an area of low pressure, will start to impact travelers beginning on Tuesday. Heavy rain and mountain snow will move into the Northwest and western Canada. This part of the storm will pack most of the energy needed for the bigger storm to form later in the week.
On Wednesday, the second ingredient, moisture emerging from the Gulf of Mexico, will help spark showers and thunderstorms across eastern Texas and the lower Mississippi Valley, slowing pre-Thanksgiving travel there, including in Houston and Dallas.
Those two separate systems will begin to combine into a larger storm over the Midwest, Mississippi and Ohio valleys and parts of the South on Thanksgiving.
Thunderstorms packing torrential downpours will make for a soggy Turkey Day in cities such as Lake Charles and New Orleans, Louisiana, and Jackson, Mississippi. Meanwhile, snow showers will make for a wintry scene and slick roads in parts of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest, including in Minneapolis and Duluth, Minnesota.
While the strength and positioning of any developing storm are still uncertain a week out, there is the potential for further strengthening to occur as the storm reaches the Atlantic coast around Friday. Combined with fresh cold air rushing in from Canada, a swath of snow can interrupt post-Thanksgiving travel in parts of the Great Lakes and interior Northeast from Friday into next weekend.
Impacts can also occur along the coast, from the Carolinas to New England, including strong winds, high waves and tidal flooding, as the storm strengthens offshore.
If the two storms end up being weaker or the colder air ends up pushing farther south, the ingredients may not come together in the right position or in time to produce significant travel-impacting precipitation in the East.
Regardless, travelers should plan in advance for the potential of flight delays or cancellations at major airports, including Chicago-O’Hare, Atlanta-Hartsfield and the airports in the New York City tri-state area, as well as slow travel on major highways such as interstates 40, 70, 80, 90 and 95.
The potential for more snow in the Great Lakes will come in the wake of a major lake-effect snow event late this week and weekend, where several feet of snow is expected to accumulate, including in Buffalo.