Thanksgiving Travel Weather

A Pacific storm train may bring the biggest travel problems for Thanksgiving to the Northwest, while another nor’easter will put travel in jeopardy for the holiday.

A nor’easter may form over the western Atlantic by Sunday, sending rain and wind into parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast through at least the middle of the week, reports.

There is potential that the nor’easter could strengthen and move farther inland into New England at midweek. In this scenario, there is some potential for a wintry mix or snow over the mountains of northern New England.

“How close to the coast the storm tracks will determine how unsettled the weather gets in the I-95 corridor to the Appalachians,” Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

Between the East and West coasts, fewer widespread weather-related travel delays are forecast.

AccuWeather’s region-by-region breakdown of how weather might impact Thanksgiving travel follows.

There is the potential for a nor’easter to form off the Atlantic coast by early next week. It is still unclear whether the storm will shift out to sea or move northward up the Eastern Seaboard.

If the storm shifts out to sea, then there may be no impact to Thanksgiving travel. Partly to mostly sunny skies and seasonable temperatures would be expected in this scenario. At this time, AccuWeather meteorologists are leaning toward this forecast.

However, rain, low clouds and gusty winds could cause slow travel both on the ground and in the air from Washington, D.C., to Boston if the storm moves up the coast.


2012 Thanksgiving weather forecast. (Source:

2012 Thanksgiving weather forecast. (Source:

With another potential nor’easter brewing off the coast by early next week, an onshore flow could deliver low clouds to eastern portions of the Carolinas to Florida on Monday and Tuesday.

The east coast of Florida may even be dealing with some showers, including Miami.

Meanwhile, the interior Southeast should remain dry through the beginning of the week.

Another storm will move from west to east across the South through midweek, spreading showers and thunderstorms across the region. The showers may target the lower Mississippi Valley on Tuesday before shifting east across the Tennessee Valley and portions of the Deep South on the biggest travel day of the year, Wednesday.

Locally torrential downpours may slow motorists traveling across portions of the I-10, I-20 and I-40 corridors on Tuesday and Wednesday.


For the most part, there are not too many weather-related travel problems anticipated across the Midwest Thanksgiving week. Generally dry and seasonable weather is in store for the Dakotas through the Great Lakes.

However, a few showers may pass quickly through, from the Dakotas and Minnesota on Monday to the Great Lakes on Tuesday.

Much of the Rockies and the Plains will be dominated by dry weather under the influence of high pressure. Very few weather-related travel issues are predicted.

The one exception may be a moist flow from the Gulf that could trigger a few showers across Texas and the southern Plains.

The Northwest is likely to turn out to be the stormiest part of the nation for Thanksgiving travel. Significant travel problems could result low-elevation rain, mountain snow, and wind.

Seattle to Portland are forecast to be soaked by heavy rain through the first half of next week. High winds will drive the rain sideways at times, possibly making it hard for motorists to see while driving along the I-5 corridor.

Snow levels will drop as low as major mountain passes, such as Snoqualmie along I-90 in Washington, by Tuesday and Wednesday. Motorists traveling for Thanksgiving can run into slippery and hazardous travel.

At times, the rain will reach southward into northern California. Wet weather is most likely to disrupt travel in San Francisco on Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday, there is potential that drying will occur in San Francisco.

Farther south, dry and mild weather is in store for Southern California and the interior Southwest.



AccuWeather, established in 1962, is the World’s Weather Authority.

AccuWeather provides local forecasts for everywhere in the United States and over two million locations worldwide.

Headquarters for AccuWeather is State College, Pennsylvania, home to the greatest number of forecast meteorologists in one location anywhere in the world.


Worth Pondering…

Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.
—Mark Twain

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