Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving travel forecast

Many Mid-Southerners are making plans to travel later this Thanksgiving week, so here is a general overview of expected weather conditions for the U.S. for the holiday period.

Wednesday - For the big travel day, much of the country will be in decent shape with a few exceptions. A cold front and low pressure system over the Florida peninsula will mean scattered showers and thunderstorms for the peninsula and Carolina coastal areas. Also, very cold low pressure over the Great Lakes will likely bring snow showers for portions of the Midwest from the Twin Cities towards Chicago, while light snow is possible over the western Great Lakes. Very cold air will also be diving south through the northern Plains while the leading edge of that cooler air will be filtering into the mid-Mississippi and Ohio Valleys. Dry conditions are expected across much of the south and west.

Thanksgiving Day - The south and west will continue to be mainly dry. Cooler air continues pushing south thanks to a strong upper level trough over the Great Lakes and Midwest (where it will continue to be cold with scattered light snow showers). Look for unseasonably cool air for the Mid-South and Tennessee Valley, as well as interior portions of the southeast U.S. A storm system pushing onshore in the Pacific Northwest will bring wet and potentially windy conditions to portions of that region south to northern California. The big story will be a developing system off the Mid-Atlantic Coast. Details are still sketchy, but it appears that it could be a cool and wet day along the I-95 corridor from Boston to New York City.

Friday - The biggest effects from the developing East Coast storm could be felt Friday. It's still too early to determine where the rain/snow line will set up, but the potential exists for some accumulating snow, most likely in interior portions of the Northeast and northern Appalchians. It could stay just warm enough along the coast and in major metro areas that a cold rain could result, but the Northeast will not have good weather conditions for shoppers. In addition, it will be windy throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Dry conditions, cool in the Mississippi Valley, will exist for much of the rest of the U.S., with the exception of interior portions of the Northwest. Temperatures warm up for the Plains.

Saturday/Sunday - The Northeast storm weakens and moves into eastern Canada, leaving behind cool conditions and a few lingering rain or snow showers. The Pac Northwest low emerges over the Plains, dragging another cold front across the northern U.S. with very cool air trailing it, blanketing the Plains and upper and mid-Mississippi Valley. A few showers could be found along the front.

For detailed conditions for the Memphis area, please see the MWN Forecast, which will be updated this evening for the upcoming week.

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