Thanksgiving week weather outlook features mostly minor headaches in spots

One-sentence summary

Thanksgiving week travel looks a little sloppy in spots at times, but we can hopefully avoid any massive travel disruptions this year, at least due to weather.

Thanksgiving week outlook

It’s never easy, right? Travel anytime of year is a crapshoot to be sure, but of course during probably the busiest travel week of the year, we punctuate our mostly benign autumn with a fairly big storm. Different days this week will have different hazards in different parts of the country. As of now, it doesn’t look like we’ll see anything severely disruptive, but there are a couple things to point out.

Today: Severe weather risk in the Deep South

The main story for the Monday phase of this storm will be severe weather risk for the Southern US. Louisiana and Mississippi seem to be the prime spots at risk today for strong winds, hail, and possible tornadoes.

As of Monday morning, an enhanced (level 3/5) risk for severe storms was in place between extreme east Texas, across northern Louisiana and into parts of southwest Mississippi (NOAA SPC)

The tornado threat is not a guarantee, but if storms can maintain themselves individually in Louisiana or extreme eastern Texas (before “lining out” into bands of t’storms), a strong tornado or two will be possible. Either way, reports of hail and strong, damaging winds are possible, if not likely with storms today that should get going through the afternoon hours. The severe risk will push into Mississippi later this afternoon and evening and into Alabama and parts of the Florida Panhandle perhaps by the overnight hours, with a continued severe risk. Some adjustment of the above risk is possible before the end of the day today. If you’re traveling in this region today or tonight, please ensure you have the ability to receive weather warnings.

Tomorrow: Rain & wind in the Northeast and Midwest

The storm itself will track from about the Red River Valley into southern Michigan or near Lake Erie between today and tomorrow. This means that on Tuesday, we’ll begin to see widespread rain, thunderstorms, and gusty winds in the Eastern U.S. Gusty winds will likely delay some flights to and from places like Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, or Pittsburgh.

Gusty winds will be strongest in Appalachia, as well as into parts of the Midwest, where gusts of 30 to 40 mph will be possible through Tuesday. (Weather Bell)

Rain may begin as a wintry mix for parts of the interior Northeast as well. Overall, this won’t be a massive storm up that way, but it will be enough to cause disruption.

The primary severe weather risk tomorrow will be with the continuation of storms overnight into the morning hours moving across Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

Wednesday: Improving, except in the Northeast

Boston and New York may still see some gusty winds on the backside of the storm Wednesday as it exits in the morning.

Some fairly strong wind gusts on Wednesday may impact flights into Boston, southern New England, or the NYC metro airports. (Weather Bell)

Gradually improving weather is expected during the PM hours, but some of those wind gusts in the front half of the day may cause some travel headaches.

Elsewhere, there’s at least a subtle severe risk in eastern North Carolina before the front exits, but that’s not expected to be a big deal.

Thanksgiving Day: Showery Gulf Coast, snowy Wyoming?

Travel overall looks fine on Thanksgiving Day if you’ll be hitting the road. The two exceptions to this are on the Texas Gulf Coast and in Wyoming.

For Texas, showers are possible between about Laredo and Matagorda Bay south through Corpus Christi and the Valley. This won’t disrupt travel much, but it could put a slight damper on any outdoor Thanksgiving plans.

Potential snow from the National Blend of Models, most of which falls Thursday in Wyoming. This is subject to change, but some travel disruption is possible in this region into southern Montana. (Pivotal Weather)

The situation in Wyoming and southern Montana is a little trickier, as is always the case with snow forecasting more than a day or two out. A storm seems likely to deliver some wintry weather to the region on Thanksgiving Day, but exact amounts are TBD. Whatever specifically happens, if your travels take you to Yellowstone or portions of northern Wyoming and southern Montana, you will want to be prepared for some travel difficulties.

Friday: Storms in the Southeast, snow into Colorado?

The aforementioned winter storm in Wyoming on Thursday will probably slide into Colorado on Friday bringing a chance of winter weather there that could cause some travel issues.

A moderate risk for travel issues across Colorado exists on Friday as a winter storm slides in. Details and specifics will be sorted out in a few days. (NWS Boulder)

Travel impacts are currently expected to be on the moderate side across Colorado, so if you are traveling from Denver to go skiing or visit the mountains on Black Friday, you will want to be ready to deal with some weather.

Elsewhere, the showery system in Texas on Thursday will move across the Gulf Friday, bringing a chance of showers and storms to the Southeast, particularly Florida. The rest of the country looks pretty good.

This weekend: Some uncertainty

The weekend looks ok at this point, with the Colorado system diving into the southern Plains bringing a chance of showers. Additional showers are possible on the East Coast later Saturday and Sunday, but as of now nothing looks too serious. We’ll keep tabs on things.

November 17, 2023 Outlook: Last call for the tropical Atlantic and a sneak peek at Thanksgiving travel weather

One-sentence summary

Potential Tropical Cyclone 22 has a narrow window to develop before tomorrow when it slams shut in the Atlantic, and today’s post covers Wednesday travel weather which looks good with a couple big exceptions.

Potential Tropical Cyclone 22

We were expecting that Potential Tropical Cyclone 22 would become Vince later today as it races northeast across Jamaica, Cuba, and the Bahamas.

How to describe PTC 22? Quick and lower-end on the intensity scale. The main concern will be heavy rain as it races off northeast into the open Atlantic. (NOAA NHC)

But a look at satellite this morning suggests that 22 is still far from organized. The window for organization will remain open a bit longer before it slams shut, and 22 or Vince or whatever merges in with a non-tropical system in the open Atlantic, as it passes Bermuda.

PTC 22 lacks much organization whatsoever this morning, and it seems like getting to a true tropical storm will be an uphill battle. (

So if PTC 22 were to become a tropical storm as it passes Jamaica, Cuba, and/or the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands, how strong could it get? Not very. The ceiling on 22 is limited, probably to a minimal tropical storm. That said, it is going to bring a good deal of rainfall to the islands as it passes by, and as much as 8 additional inches could fall for portions of Jamaica or a bit more in southeast Cuba. As much as 4 to 8 inches or so will be possible in southern Haiti.

Rainfall from PTC 22 will be about 8 more inches in Jamaica, up to a foot or so in SE Cuba, and perhaps 8 inches or more in southern Haiti. (NOAA WPC)

So flooding is the primary concern with 22 as it trucks through the Caribbean and into the Atlantic today and tomorrow. With that, we suspect that the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season will come to an unofficial close.

Thanksgiving Wednesday travel outlook

With a lot of people hitting the road next week for the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S., we thought it might be helpful to give you an initial read on what travel conditions may look like for Wednesday.

The forecast map for Wednesday shows a stormy Northeast US and southeast Canada, a quiet central and western US, and some scattered storms in Florida. (NOAA WPC)

So, right off the bat, travel in the West looks fine right now. No issues are expected Wednesday. The Central U.S. looks quiet as well. A cold front will deliver scattered thunderstorms to Florida, this after some potential severe weather on Tuesday in the South. But overall, other than some minor issues, the expectation is that any travel to or from Florida will be fine.

The trouble spot on Wednesday looks to be the Northeast, Great Lakes, and Canada, where a potent storm will bring a bunch of issues for Wednesday. Chief among those issues will be wind, which is likely to cause delays at Northeast hubs like Boston, the NYC metro airports, and perhaps Philly and DC. Conditions should gradually improve later in the day Wednesday it appears, but there may be cascading delays due to airline issues there. I would also watch Chicago for potential issues with wind, which can always impact the air travel system. Aside from wind, some heavy snow is likely in parts of Quebec and interior Ontario, and some lake effect snow is likely in the snow belts of Michigan and perhaps off Lakes Erie & Ontario as well.

So if your travel plans take you north and east of about Indiana, you’ll likely want to have a little extra patience this year.