Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel occasions of the year. Tens of millions of people in the United States will take to the roads, rails and skies to visit relatives and loved ones. Naturally, if there’s travel involved, the weather will play a big role. Fortunately, we’ve got your forecast.
Wednesday, which is the busiest travel day, will be remarkably quiet across the Lower 48, with little in the way of precipitation outside some snow showers in the Intermountain West. The latter half of the holiday period probably won’t be so tranquil.
For days, weather models have been suggesting the development of a potent storm system in the eastern United States between Friday and the weekend. They have somewhat backed off on their forecasts for its intensity, but significant precipitation could still affect parts of the central and eastern Lower 48.
In the West, meanwhile, signs point to a mild and dry stretch through Thanksgiving. Temperatures may run 1o to 15 degrees or more above average, courtesy of a large dome of high pressure set to park directly overhead. But Friday into the weekend, damp, unsettled weather will move over the Pacific Northwest and northern California.
Here’s an early glance at the forecast in your region-by-region forecast:
There are no weather worries for Wednesday and Thursday. Between Friday and the weekend, the chance of a strong coastal storm has lessened, but the weather could still be a little unsettled at times. It’s worth paying attention to the forecast, as it’s still evolving.
Wednesday: A cool day with upper 20s for highs in northern Maine, 30s over New Hampshire, much of upstate New York and Vermont, 40s in southern New England and near 50 for the South Coast. Dry conditions with sunshine and a few passing clouds.
Thursday: Expect highs in the Lower 20s in far northern Maine. Otherwise, high range from the upper 30s to near 40 in Vermont and New Hampshire, and 40s to near 50 in southern regions. Sunshine giving way to overcast skies late in the day. Pleasant in Boston, Manchester, Concord, Portland, Hartford and Providence.
Friday: While the forecast is still coming into focus, rain is possible, except perhaps some snow in interior Maine. High temperatures range from 50 to 55 in eastern New England to the low 30s in interior Maine.
Weekend: High temperatures range from upper 30s and 40s in interior sections to the low to mid-50s nearer the coast. Depending on how Friday’s storm system evolves, it could linger into Saturday bringing rain and windy conditions. Alternatively, it may end up partly sunny and breezy for most of the weekend, until clouds increase on Sunday with a chance of rain late in the day.
Mild and dry weather is anticipated Wednesday and Thanksgiving. Depending on how much a storm system develops on Friday, there could be steady rain or just some scattered showers. Saturday and the first half of Sunday will feature tranquil weather before downpours arrive Sunday evening.
Wednesday and Thursday: Highs in the mid-50s near the Mason-Dixon Line to near 60 south of the nation’s capital to lower to mid-60s in the Carolinas. Mostly sunny skies, except near the Carolina coastline. Clouds and a very isolated shower are possible along the immediate coastline Wednesday.
Friday: There’s a chance of rain but just how widespread and intense is still to be determined. Some areas may end up dry.
Weekend: Nicer on Saturday, with probable rain arriving Sunday.
The South and Tennessee Valley
A developing low pressure system will take shape near the Texas Gulf Coast Thanksgiving, working north and bringing showers across much of the South through Friday. By Saturday night, another low pressure zone may form over Texas and Arkansas, with more rain possible along and ahead of it.
Wednesday: Widespread highs in the 60s, with lower 60s in northern regions and upper 60s to lower 70s near the Gulf Coast; 80s in South Florida. Mostly pleasant. A spot shower in Florida.
Thursday: Similar temperatures to Wednesday. Afternoon and evening rain is possible in Louisiana, Arkansas, western Mississippi and western Tennessee.
Friday: Showers and downpours, and perhaps some thunderstorms, are probable in Mississippi, Alabama, coastal Louisiana and the Delta, northern and western Georgia, Tennessee and the Ohio Valley. Jackson, Miss., Huntsville, Birmingham, Atlanta, Memphis, Nashville and Louisville could see wet weather.
Highs are about 10 degrees cooler then Wednesday and Thursday: ranging from low 50s in Tennessee to the lower 60s along the Gulf Coast. In Florida, highs range from the upper 60s in the Panhandle to the 70s and 80s in the Peninsula.
Weekend: Another round of showers is possible over Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi on Saturday, and may spread north and east on Sunday but confidence is low. Highs are mostly in the 60s except the 50s toward the Tennessee Valley and 70s in South Florida.
Temperature contrasts over the southern Plains may help spawn a couple storm systems, each of which could bring rain to Texas and southern Oklahoma between Friday and Sunday. Much of the central and northern Plains, the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes, behind a series of weak fronts, will be mostly dry between Wednesday and the weekend.
Wednesday: Sun with a few passing high, thin clouds. Highs around freezing in North Dakota and northern South Dakota, with 50s for the central Plains and 60s farther south. Highs in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes will be in the 30s and 40s, except closer to 50 near Chicago.
Thursday: Sunny across the northern Plains, clouds in Texas and downpours in eastern parts of the Lone Star State, especially during the afternoon. That could affect Interstates 20 and 30. A front makes it into Oklahoma. Upper 20s to lower 30s in northern North Dakota, 40s to around 50 in Kansas and Nebraska, and upper 50s to 60s south of the front in Oklahoma and northern Texas. Upper 70s to near 80 for the Gulf Coast. In the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes, highs will range from mid-30s in the north and closer to 50 around Chicago.
Friday: Rain is possible in most of Texas outside the Panhandle. Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Waco and Houston could be affected. Highs hover in the 30s to near 40 from the Dakotas to the Great Lakes but warm to the 60s over much of Texas.
Weekend: Similar temperatures. A chance of rain pushes toward Oklahoma on Saturday and clears the southern Plains on Sunday.
High pressure dominates, keeping temperatures elevated and staving off rain. The exception will be in Seattle and Portland, where rainy conditions may try to lap at the coastline.
Wednesday: Rain lurks off the Pacific Northwest coastline, but should remain offshore. A few clouds in Seattle. Cooler in the mountains, with highs about 5 to 10 degrees below average in the Columbia River Basin and Four Corners. Near- to slightly above-average readings along the Pacific Coastline.
Thursday: Warmer. Ten to 20 degrees above average in northern parts of California’s San Joaquin Valley, with highs 5 to 10 degrees above average all the way north to British Columbia. Conversely, it will be cooler than average in the Rockies. Atmospheric river remains pointed at Vancouver Island, but doesn’t reach the United States.
Friday: Similar temperatures to Thursday. Dry and pleasant.
Weekend: Becoming warmer in the Rockies. Stormy conditions begin working down coastline Saturday before impacting the Sierra Nevada and dropping significant snows early next week.