As tens of millions of travelers across a large swath of the country begin to hit the roads and skies ahead of Thanksgiving, storms threaten to upend their holiday plans.
Rain, thunderstorms, snow, wind, fog and ice are all in the forecast for the central and eastern United States, AccuWeather said. The worst weather is expected Tuesday from the Great Lakes to the Northeast down to the Southeast.
The center of the storm "is forecast to reach the lower Great Lakes, bringing widespread rain with some embedded thunderstorms from the Midwest to the lower Great Lakes and Ohio Valley, and move quickly toward New England Tuesday night," the National Weather Service said.
Wet snow and freezing rain possible
Temperatures will probably be cold enough to support wet snow early Tuesday over the upper Midwest, reaching eastward into interior New England by Tuesday night. Freezing rain is possible, the weather service said.
AccuWeather predicts that snow is likely in parts of northern Pennsylvania and upstate New York to central and northern New England through Tuesday night. "From 3 to 6 inches of snow is forecast to fall on the Adirondacks and Green Mountains, while from 6 to 12 inches is forecast to pile up from central New Hampshire to much of northwestern Maine," AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
In the Appalachians, AccuWeather warned that fog will shroud the ridges − and when combined with slick roads, dangerous travel conditions may result.
'Miserable' travel on the roads Tuesday
Heavy rain will make for "miserable" travel on the roads Tuesday in much of the I-80, I-81 and I-95 mid-Atlantic region, Sosnowski said. "The heaviest rain may hold off until late Tuesday afternoon in New York City and until late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning around Boston. Motorists should expect delays due to this storm," he said.
— AccuWeather (@accuweather) November 20, 2023
Strong to severe thunderstorms possible in the South, mid-Atlantic
The weather service warned that some strong thunderstorms are expected to track across the Tennessee Valley and interior Southeast early Tuesday, followed by the southern Appalachians and into the interior mid-Atlantic by Tuesday night and early Wednesday.
The Storm Prediction Center said some of the storms could turn severe across portions of southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle on Tuesday. That includes the risk of tornadoes.
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Winds could be a problem at airports
Strong winds could cause problems for air travelers: "The stiff east-to-southeast winds averaging 25-35 mph with gusts of 40-45 mph can pose a problem at some of the airports from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia and New York City with the worst conditions likely from late Tuesday afternoon to Tuesday evening," AccuWeather senior meteorologist Tom Kines said.
Airline delays are likely because of wind, drenching rain and poor visibility, AccuWeather said.
Unsettled weather is likely during the days leading up to Thanksgiving across the eastern U.S., with snow potential entering the central/northern Rockies around the holiday. 🦃
Be sure to visit https://t.co/pGx1JRZLBI for local forecasts. pic.twitter.com/FYWjkYD0Gs
— NWS Weather Prediction Center (@NWSWPC) November 18, 2023
Better weather on Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day
On Wednesday, other than the snow in the Northeast and New England, most of the nation should see good weather for travel. For travelers who wait until Thursday, not only will much of the Midwest and Northeast be dry on Thanksgiving Day, but so will most of the nation, AccuWeather said.
More than 55 million will be traveling for the holiday
Around 55.4 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles for Thanksgiving from Wednesday to Sunday, the third-highest travel numbers over Thanksgiving since 2000, behind only 2005 and 2019, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). More than 49 million will travel by road this year, AAA said.
Contributing: Jeanine Santucci
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Thanksgiving travel weather forecast: The big Tuesday storm is here.