After overloading on turkey, Black Friday deals and family, it’s time to travel home after this Thanksgiving holiday. But the weather might make things difficult depending on where you are in the U.S.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the Upper Mississippi Valley, the Upper Great Lakes and the Sierra Nevadas will all be hit by heavy snow through Monday night. Meanwhile, the Northeast and parts of the Great Lakes are being hit with freezing rain, and there’s a slight risk of severe thunderstorms over parts of the Lower Mississippi and Tennessee Valleys.
“A significant storm continues its eastward movement this weekend impacting post Thanksgiving travel,” the NWS tweeted late Friday night. “Widespread snow, areas of ice, and powerful winds from the Northern Tier states into the Northeast can be expected. A new CA storm will bring feet of mountain snow this weekend.”
A significant storm continues its eastward movement this weekend impacting post Thanksgiving travel. Widespread snow, areas of ice, and powerful winds from the Northern Tier states into the Northeast can be expected. A new CA storm will bring feet of mountain snow this weekend. pic.twitter.com/ZRqzbdqMSc— National Weather Service (@NWS) November 30, 2019
Here’s what you need to know about the most disruptive storms coming through this weekend.
Snow adds to misery out West
The NWS predicts that a “plume of moisture” will enter California on Saturday and continue through the weekend, which will lead to rain at lower elevations and snow in higher elevations.
Flooding is possible in north California, especially in areas affected by wildfire.
The Sierra Nevada mountains could once again see feet of snowfall, and lighter snow will spread into the intermountain West on Sunday.
And here is a look at the origins of the atmospheric river moisture plume.— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) November 30, 2019
This satellite imagery depicts a subtropical moisture tap into the ITCZ extending from north of Hawaii to the California coast, driven by an upper low descending from the Gulf of Alaska.
The West Coast has already been hit by huge amounts of snow. As of Friday afternoon, some higher elevations in southern California had seen up to four feet of snow.
While heavy rainfall and flash flooding occurred in the lower elevations, the higher terrain of southern California received as much as 4 feet of snow! Below is an image showing 48 hour snowfall totals as of early this afternoon. #cawx pic.twitter.com/Yfz3IA49gm— NWS WPC (@NWSWPC) November 29, 2019
Heavy Snow in the Midwest
The Upper Mississippi Valley and the Upper Great Lakes will face heavy snow on Saturday through Sunday evening, per the NWS. The storm will move eastward and off the Northeast Coast by Monday morning.
Freezing rain and sleet will also develop in the lower Peninsula of Michigan overnight on Saturday and into Sunday morning, the NWS predicts.
Blizzard warnings are in effect through Sunday morning in parts of the northern High Plains and the Great Lakes. The NWS cautions travel could be difficult, and urges drivers to be careful.
Blizzard Warnings are in effect into Sunday morning across a portion of the northern High Plains and the west end of Lake Superior. Interstates 90 and 35 pass through these areas. Travel could be very difficult. Widespread blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. https://t.co/lLWPuL5XpX— National Weather Service (@NWS) November 30, 2019
Do your part to keep everyone safe on the roads this winter. Learn more at https://t.co/2E4fUWxKrn #WeatherReady— National Weather Service (@NWS) November 30, 2019
Ice and Snow, Take it Slow. 70% of snow and ice-related injuries occur in automobiles. Leave extra space between you and the vehicle in front of you. pic.twitter.com/7ZKJwFQTYI
Southeast portions of the region will see areas of fog & drizzle this morning. Temperatures are near to just above freezing, so watch out on untreated roads.— NWS Sioux Falls (@NWSSiouxFalls) November 30, 2019
Much different story to our west and north, though, so be sure to check the latest road conditions! pic.twitter.com/ptVByr0B7p
The NWS Sioux Falls warns that a mix of drizzle and freezing rain that’s hitting the region will transition to snow Saturday night.
A mix of drizzle/freezing drizzle & light snow will transition to all #snow from west to east through mid-evening. Here's a look at potential timing.— NWS Sioux Falls (@NWSSiouxFalls) November 30, 2019
⚠️ Any untreated wet roads may become slippery as temps fall below freezing tonight. Please plan accordingly! pic.twitter.com/QuaJWFZvml
Freezing Rain and Snow in the Northeast
That storm will then move eastward, bringing freezing rain to the Northern Mid-Atlantic on Saturday night and then up to Southern New England on Sunday evening and Monday morning, per NWS.
On Sunday afternoon that rain will turn into heavy snow, will will drop over the Northeast into Monday. Parts of New York, southern Vermont, southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts are forecasted to get four to eight inches through Sunday night and Monday day.
“Difficult to dangerous driving conditions will be associated with the winter weather over the Upper Midwest into the Northeast,” the NWS warns.
“Wintry weather will produce some difficult travel conditions across parts of the Eastern U.S. Sunday & Monday,” the NWS Eastern Region also warns.
Wintry weather will produce some difficult travel conditions across parts of the Eastern US Sunday & Monday. The big storm that moved onto the west Coast last Tue will reach the Eastern US this weekend, redeveloping off the Delmarva coast Sun evening & moving northeast on Monday. pic.twitter.com/TqhkWvBNSu— NWS Eastern Region (@NWSEastern) November 29, 2019
Freezing rain will hit parts of Pennsylvania, New York and the Central Appalachians, per the NWS. Up to over a tenth of an inch of ice could accumulate in some areas.
Rain in the South and Midwest
Further South, that storm will create thunderstorms over parts of the Tennessee and Mississippi Valleys Saturday into Sunday, the NWS predicts. Some could become “severe.”
“The Storm Prediction Center has delineated a Slight Risk of severe weather today and tonight,” the NWS said Saturday afternoon.
The thunderstorms will then move the Southern Mid-Atlantic and the Southeast on Sunday, and go off the East Coast by Sunday night, per the NWS.
Rain will also hit parts of the Middle Mississippi Valley and move into parts of the Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley Saturday night, per the NWS. On Sunday, the rain will become snow.
Flight delays and power outages affect travel
Flight delays hit the U.S. on Saturday — more than 3,300 flights within, into or out of the U.S. were delayed as of Saturday according to FlightAware. Over 600 have been canceled.
Many were in California or the Midwest.
Andrew Orrison of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Weather Prediction Center advises that people should keep track of flight schedules and weather reports. Travelers in areas affected by severe weather later in the week should try to leave earlier, if possible.
“If there is an opportunity to leave earlier, I think I would take advantage of that – certainly when it comes to road travel, but when it comes to air travel as well,” says Orrison.