By Robert Shackelford, Derek Van Dam, Gene Norman, and Jennifer Gray, CNN Meteorologists
Now that your bellies are full and the leftovers are nearly gone, it’s time to warm up the car for that long ride home.
People returning home from Thanksgiving festivities may encounter travel delays as a series of storms crisscross the country.
A strengthening cold front, followed by another fast-moving system, will impact many from the Plains to the Midwest, and even the Northeast.
The second storm could bring the first measurable snowfall of the season to many cities on the East Coast.
Friday’s weather travel hot spots
Rain, wind, and snow are all possible across the Northeast on Friday. However, major coastal cities along the I-95 corridor will see mainly rain.
Millions will still be impacted by snow across interior sections of New England through Friday, which is expected to clear out by Saturday morning.
Bur windy conditions will remain, with gusts potentially up to 55 mph for parts of the Northeast.
“Right now, we are looking at sustained winds at 15 to 25 mph, with gusts of 25 to 35 mph,” says the National Weather Service (NWS) office in New York City.
Wind is one of the main causes of travel delays in the late autumn and winter months, and this weekend will be no exception.
We could see airport delays on Friday due to wind and a few delays due to snow and de-icing in New England.
Cold temperatures will follow, impacting the vast majority of the eastern half of the country.
From Texas to Maine, temperatures will be anywhere from 5 to 15 degrees below normal on Friday and Saturday.
The Pacific Northwest will also be at risk for travel delays through Friday, with another atmospheric river event getting set to impact the area.
Heavy coastal rainfall and mountain snowfall are expected through Friday with a slight break in the evening hours.
Saturday’s weather travel hot spots
Major cities on the East Coast are off the hook Saturday, but parts of northern New England can still see snowfall.
Wind gusts are likely to reach 40 mph, but Saturday still looks like the better travel day in this region.
The central US will experience winds gusting up to 55 mph in some locations.
Cities like Minneapolis could see an excess of flight delays, as the winds strengthen during peak volume hours.
In addition, these winds whipping across the Great Lakes will likely force lake-effect snow into the weekend.
Sunday’s weather travel hot spots
By Sunday, a quick-moving storm system could bring a brief shot of snow to the Midwest and Great Lakes.
The snow could reach the Washington, DC, area late in the weekend, impacting flights as well as road travelers.
Some computer models are hinting at the possibility of the storm system intensifying off the mid-Atlantic coast.
If this scenario plays out, snow would develop in eastern Pennsylvania, reaching Philadelphia and possibly farther north into New York City.
Of course, the timing and exact locations that will see snow will change in the coming days, but it bears watching as we get closer to the end of the week.
In the Northwest, another system pushes through with more rainfall over the weekend.
This will add to the impressive rainfall totals that the region has seen in the month of November.
Seattle has already seen 8.40″ of rain in November, and the month will most likely end as one of the wettest.
Overall, the weather will have some impact on travel, but it won’t be the ginormous snarl of mounting airport delays we have seen some years.
Something to be thankful about, for sure.
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