Thanksgiving is here, and whether you’re on the road or in the sky, hopefully you’ve arrived at your destination without a headache. Thanks in large part to relatively calm weather so far this week, airlines have reported few delays and cancellations.
Unfortunately, that could change in the coming days as a more active weather pattern forms over the eastern United States.
But first, some good news. The weather is looking really good for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It will be sunny most of the time, and most importantly, the wind will remain light, so there should be no restrictions on the balloons.
Active weather in the Southern Plains on Thanksgiving Day.
“The main area of concern heading into the Thanksgiving holiday will be a dynamic low pressure system that could impact parts of the southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley, bringing heavy rain, snow and thunderstorms,” the Weather Center said.
Cities including Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Memphis, Tennessee, Shreveport, Louisiana and Little Rock, Arkansas will all experience rain and thunderstorms that could impact any outdoor cooking plans.
While the timing of the rain may not be the best, nearly 70 percent of the South is still in drought conditions, so the rain will be beneficial. Rainfall totals are generally 1 to 2 inches, with individual areas expected to see higher amounts from east Texas to Mississippi.
Later Thursday afternoon, showers in the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes region will follow the cold front northward into Thursday night. This rain will be more diffuse and lighter than the lower Mississippi Valley.
Heavy rain from the Mississippi Valley swept through the Deep South Thursday night and Friday morning, while light rain from the Ohio Valley swept across the Northeast. Most of the rain will be pushed offshore by mid-afternoon on Friday.
While the western U.S. will experience calm weather on Thanksgiving, another Santa Ana event is expected in Southern California, which will bring higher fires to the Los Angeles area, especially from the San Gabriel Mountains into the Ventura Valley. Wind gusts are expected to reach up to 40 mph and possibly 60 mph in some higher areas. These winds will combine with low relative humidity to create unfavorable fire conditions.
If the rain pushes east, a stubborn upper-level low will keep parts of western Texas cool enough for snow to fall.
“Beginning Thanksgiving evening and continuing through Friday, there should be enough cold air on the backside of the upper-level low over the southern plateau to produce impactful snowpack over parts of eastern New Mexico and western Texas,” the Weather Center said. “Snowpack could reach 3 to 8 inches, with localized higher amounts, especially on higher ground, potentially creating hazardous travel conditions.”
“There is still some uncertainty about the timing and location of the heaviest snow bands associated with this system, but people doing holiday shopping or traveling in the Texas Panhandle should consider the impact of snowfall Thursday night through Friday morning, ’ said the Weather Forecast Center.
“We have the potential for snow bands where one area could have almost no snow and within a short distance another area could have a few inches of snow,” the National Weather Service in Amarillo said.
Further east, all of central Texas will see full rain on Friday. Rain will spread into eastern Texas and the lower Mississippi Valley later Friday and Saturday as the snow falls. Another 1 to 2 inches of widespread cooling is expected, with some areas seeing as much as 4 inches between Thursday and Saturday.
Rain will again push east into the Ohio Valley and Deep South Saturday night.
Throughout Sunday, rain will continue to move eastward, affecting much of the East Coast from northern Florida to New England.
That could cause travel delays in many major hubs, from Chicago, Detroit and Charlotte earlier in the day to New York, Philadelphia and Washington in the afternoon.
While rain is expected to cause travel delays along the East Coast, little snow is expected this time around.
“The good news is that temperatures should be warm enough that almost all precipitation will turn into rain in the U.S., but the bad news is that rain and strong winds will lead to wet roads and potentially long delays at airports on Sunday at major hubs in the U.S. Northeast,” CNN meteorologist Dave Hunnam said.