Thanksgiving trip home weather trouble spots
State College, PA -- November 25, 2011 --Travel trouble areas are in store on the way home from grandma's house this Thanksgiving weekend with everything from snow to rain, thunderstorms and strong winds in the forecast.
A storm will cut into the Midwest, spreading soaking rain, snow and wind, while the South gets hit by locally drenching and strong storms.
The storm parade will also continue across the Northwest, causing more tricky travel on the way home from your Thanksgiving destination.
Snow, Rain, Wind Midwest
A storm arriving in the Midwest on Saturday will spread travel-disrupting weather with it. Snow will spread across northeastern Iowa, Minnesota, northern and central Wisconsin and portions of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on Saturday.
"A swath of 3- to 6-inch snowfall may develop as far west as near part of the Red River of the North but is likely to extend across northern Minnesota, northernmost Wisconsin and part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan," said Sosnowski.
Strong winds may cause some blowing and drifting of snow, adding to the travel hazards along portions of I-35, I-90 and I-94.
"Over part of the snow area, the plunging temperatures and gusty winds could make for near-blizzard conditions for a time, if the storm re-strengthens quickly enough," warned Sosnowski. "This storm can make for very slippery travel and accidents in the Twin Cities area, Duluth and other locations," said Sosnowski.
Rain, soaking at times, will create poor visibility across the rest of the central Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley states. The risk of hydroplaning will be increased across I-55, I-74, I-70, I-71, I-75 and I-80.
Drastically colder air will allow snow to mix in from northern Michigan through western Kentucky by Sunday, while winds buffet the area. Chicago, Ill., Madison, Wis., and Paducah, Ky., could all have slick travel.
Locally Strong Storms in the South?
A powerful cold front will slice into humid air, causing thunderstorms to develop across the South again this weekend. Some of the storms will be heavy and gusty.
The battlegrounds for thunderstorms on Saturday will be across eastern Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, southeastern Missouri, Mississippi, western Tennessee and western Alabama.
Houston, Texas, Little Rock, Ark., New Orleans, La., Jackson, Miss., and Memphis, Tenn., are all cities that could be in the path of vigorous storms.
Wind gusts greater than 50 mph, hail, torrential downpours and lightning will be threats of the strongest thunderstorms.
It is not out of the question that an isolated tornado touches down close to the Gulf Coast, but the threat does not look nearly as high as with recent outbreaks across the South.
Blinding downpours could roam over heavily traveled portions of I-10, I-20 and I-30.
On Sunday, storms will spread farther across the Southeast. During the afternoon, thunderstorms will reach all the way into the eastern Carolinas and northern Florida.
Howling Winds on the Plains
Widespread high winds gusting past 50 mph will cause dangerous travel across the Plains, from the Dakotas to Texas, this weekend. Oklahoma City, Wichita, Kan., Omaha, Neb., and Rapid City, S.D., will deal with gusts over 50 mph on Saturday.
High-profile vehicles, such as semi-trucks and campers, will be at risk for being overturned by the strongest gusts. Crosswinds will cause travel trouble along I-40, I-70, I-80, I-90 and I-94.
Airline passengers could also face delays with the whipping winds.
Dry to Wet in the East
Dry weather and milder temperatures are in store for the East for the first part of the weekend, before the storm causing miserable weather across the Midwest and South approaches.
Rain will spread over the interior Northeast and portions of the mid-Atlantic by Sunday afternoon.
The best time to travel will be up until Sunday midday in most places. Sunglasses will be a good idea for daytime driving today and Saturday.
Improvement for the Northwest
While additional storms will inevitably move into the Northwest, it appears most of the activity moving forward, will occur later Sunday and Monday.
As the most recent storms moves eastward with wind and spotty snow over the northern Rockies and Plains into Saturday, a break in the weather is in store for the Northwest as a whole into Sunday with only spotty rain and mountain snow showers for much of the region forward of today.
The bulk of the rain will focus over the Olympic Peninsula this weekend. However, the Seattle area will have occasional rain through the weekend with heavy, windswept rain holding off until Sunday.
Nice in the Southwest
Gusty winds whipping through the Southwest Friday night into Saturday morning will diminish, promoting beautiful weather and sunshine. No travel disruptions are likely. Don't forget the sunglasses if you will be on the roads.