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A storm may threaten Thanksgiving travel in eastern US: Expect wet and icy roads




A sprawling, messy pre-Thanksgiving storm across the eastern U.S. will bring travel headaches Tuesday and Wednesday for the millions on the roads or in the air for the holiday, forecasters warned.

Rain, thunderstorms, snow, wind, fog and some ice are all in the forecast, AccuWeather said, and the worst weather is expected Tuesday from the Great Lakes to the Northeast down to the Southeast.

On Tuesday, 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, and 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 from Tuesday to 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,” according to AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

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 cause travel to be “miserable” on the roads Tuesday in much of the I-80, I-81 and I-95 mid-Atlantic region, according to Sosnowski. “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.

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 thunderstorms could turn severe across portions of southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle on Tuesday. This includes the risk of tornadoes.

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Winds could be a problem at airports

Strong winds could cause issues 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 most likely during this time because of the winds, drenching rain and poor visibility, AccuWeather said.

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.

Over 55 million will be traveling for the holiday

AAA, which tracks holiday travel, predicted 55.4 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles for Thanksgiving from Nov. 22-26, making it the third-highest amount of travel over Thanksgiving since 2000, behind only 2005 and 2019. Most of those travelers, about 49.1 million, will go by road, AAA said.

Contributing: Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY

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