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East Coast Winter Storm to Snarl Thanksgiving Travel

A possible nightmare awaits millions of Thanksgiving holiday travelers across the US

Monday, Nov. 25, 2013

(Getty Images)

A major winter storm will unfold across the East Coast Tuesday and Wednesday, threatening to create a nightmare for the millions of Thanksgiving holiday travelers--even those elsewhere in the U.S.

The same storm that unleashed snow and ice across New Mexico and the southern Plains over the weekend will now spread heavy rain across the South and I-95 corridor.

Substantial snow will spread northward from the spine of the Appalachians to the St. Lawrence Valley and far northern New England.

The timing of the impending winter storm could not come at a worst time with AAA projecting 43.4 million travelers during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

"The Wednesday before Thanksgiving will be the busiest single day of travel with 37 percent of travelers departing for trips Nov. 27"

Heavy Rain for I-95 Corridor Wednesday

Heavy rain set to inundate the South on Tuesday will spread across the Carolinas and up the Northeast's I-95 corridor late Tuesday through Wednesday to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and Boston.

Even without snow in the forecast, AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski stated, "[The rain] would be enough to slow travel on the highways and delay a number of flights."

Water gathering on roadways increases the risk of vehicles hydroplaning when traveling at highway speeds, while downpours threaten to dramatically reduce visibility for motorists.

"Gusty winds would also factor in to delays along the coast," Sosnowski continued. The rain will become wind-driven, adding to visibility issues for motorists.

The rain will be heavy enough to cause flash and urban flooding.

Coastal flooding is another concern along the New England coast Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

AccuWeather.com meteorologists do not expect accumulating snow to reach the I-95 corridor. However, plunging temperatures late Wednesday into Wednesday night could lead to a few flurries, but more importantly icy spots.

Snow from the Appalachians to St. Lawrence Valley

Current indications put the corridor from the spine of the Appalachians to southwestern Quebec and far northern New England at risk for travel-disrupting snow from this midweek winter storm.

The storm will be mostly a snow event across northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York to west of Montreal, Canada. The worst of the snowstorm may center on Bradford, Pa.; Rochester, N.Y.; Ottawa, Ont.; and stretches of Interstates 81, 86, 88, 87, 89 and 90. The snow will total 6 to 12 inches in this zone with more than a foot in some places.

The rest of the area will see both rain and snow with rain occurring during the middle part of the storm. However, an wintry or icy mix is most likely during the first part of the storm.

The timing of the final change back to snow will range from late Tuesday night in the southern Appalachians to Wednesday night in the St. Lawrence Valley and far northern New England.

The final change back to snow could yield a few inches of accumulation and slick travel along the I-81 corridor from Virginia to Pennsylvania and northeastward to Albany, N.Y., and central Maine.

Snow amounts will be substantial enough to clog roads and create treacherous and slippery travel. As the storm strengthens on Wednesday, gusty winds will follow, causing icy patches to form on some of the roads and whip the snow around--further reducing visibility for motorists.

Southern Rain, Thunderstorms, Wind

Rain and thunderstorms developing along the western Gulf Coast on Monday will spread eastward across the Deep South Monday night and to the Southeast and southern mid-Atlantic on Tuesday.

A zone of ice will reach across northern and western North Carolina to western Virginia Monday night, including the cities of Winston-Salem, N.C., and Roanoke, Va. Motorists should be prepared for slippery travel along I-26, I-77 and I-81.

Travel delays on the I-10 and I-20 corridors are in store from Louisiana to Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and northern Florida from rain-soaked highways and poor visibility from downpours.

The soaking rain and low-hanging clouds could delay flights at New Orleans, Atlanta, Charlotte and other airports in the region for travelers heading to their Thanksgiving destinations early.

Across southern Georgia and Florida, there is concern for the thunderstorms to turn severe Tuesday through Tuesday night.

As the worst of the storm shifts to the Northeast, more travel problems may unfold in the South on Wednesday due to lingering rain, wind and gusty winds.

Rest of the Nation

Much of the rest of the nation will have good travel conditions.

Beware, aircraft and flight crews originating from the South and Northeast could be delayed, perhaps causing ripple-effect problems with a few flights throughout the nation.

AccuWeather.com Travel Maps
Thanksgiving Day Weather
AccuWeather.com Winter Weather Center

There will be bands of lake-effect snow over the Upper Midwest, due to fresh cold air moving in Tuesday and Wednesday. The lake-effect snow will gradually wind down in many locations on Thanksgiving Day.

While odds favor the snow streaming over areas south to southeast of the lakes, there is some concern lake-effect snow will sneak into Chicago and cause issues at O'Hare International Airport on Wednesday.

RELATED ON SKYE: 15 Photos of Monster Blizzards


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November 26 2013 at 9:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

East COAST! REPRESENT! lol, i kid

November 26 2013 at 3:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


November 26 2013 at 3:08 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Effren Hernandez

aHHH This Global Warming is freezing me..

November 26 2013 at 1:25 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Stay HOME Jerome!

Do Thanksgiving Day Dinner ONLINE!

November 25 2013 at 10:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Not me. So not worth the aggravation and expense to put up with travel delays, cheap wine, a plate of turkey and relatives. I'm staying home, saving my money, and enjoying the Holiday with close friends. Will deal with the family at a later date when I have more time and less stress from traveling.

November 25 2013 at 10:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have to work in EMS so do me a favor people STAY HOME and be safe :)

November 25 2013 at 9:42 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I had rather eat a frozen meal than be out on the road, freezing myself. Staying home, and we are only expecting rain (no one here can drive in rain, never mind snow).

November 25 2013 at 8:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob Sounder

So snow ski ...get real

November 25 2013 at 8:35 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I've noticed that every year there is a "Thanksgiving Travel Crisis". Weather, high fuel costs, fuel shortages, mean sprited airline personel, terrorist threats, and grumpy, inconsiderate, TSA workers. HO HUM, it's always something. I guess I'm fortunate, I've never missed a Thanksgiving dinner I didn't want to miss, nor do I know of too many people that have either.

November 25 2013 at 8:18 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to aevf101's comment

Have a nice crash!

November 25 2013 at 11:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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