Next week will be another busy travel weekend, as a once-in-a-lifetime storm on the East Coast also sweeps across the South from Washington, D.C., to Raleigh, N.C.
The AccuWeather Daily Forecast focuses on safety, as millions of travelers pack their bags for their much-needed break, leaving their homes or cottages for sunny family getaways.
“Since the mid-70s in April, we have been on a really warm pattern, it feels more like spring than fall,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said.
“[Travelers are facing] much more severe weather on the east coast than at this time of year on the West Coast.”
The coldest morning air will still be around on the West Coast, but the warm weather, along with morning sunshine, should be enough to keep drive-time temperatures above normal for California’s high-desert highways such as Interstate 80.
Much like the recent Thanksgiving holiday, roads and airports will be busy, and travelers are advised to leave early in the morning or late afternoon on Friday or Saturday in order to make sure they arrive at their destination in time for dinner.
Best time to depart/arriving to the East Coast for a Friday, March 30-Sunday, April 1 (through 4 p.m.)
Alaska and northern Mexico will face the heaviest snow and rain this Thanksgiving Day, which can delay travelers’ or airline’s arrival time. It will also increase the risk of flight delays.
Travelers departing on Thursday can face the coldest morning temperatures, but that is not enough to postpone their departure time. For some of these routes, driving conditions will be icy at first as well, but rain, sleet and snow will make it slippery in the morning, with warmer weather bringing relief in the afternoon.
Extreme swing of temperatures expected in eastern U.S. this Thanksgiving
Weather hazards remain present. Highs on Thanksgiving Day and travel day will drop into the teens across Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston, and people will be tempted to hit the roads. However, heavy snow and rain will continue to slow travel for many eastern cities throughout the day.
Flights will be delayed, and travel in northern New England will be especially challenging due to strong wind gusts.
“The worst travel time will be the afternoon and evening on Friday as it will be a cold day with a lot of rain and winds,” Pydynowski said.
Travelers departing on Saturday can face the hottest travel day as temperatures continue to rise.
Most major East Coast airports will be open, however, flight delays will occur.
“If you can avoid travel on Friday, try to do that,” Pydynowski said.
Midwest weather to be mostly nice for Thanksgiving travelers
The Midwest will witness several inches of snow on Wednesday as cold air filters down to the ground. This cold, frozen air will provide a big boost for the Thanksgiving Day commute.
“If you are traveling through the Midwest on Thursday, in the morning you’ll have a tough time because of low temperatures,” Pydynowski said.
For travelers traveling on Thanksgiving Day into the Upper Midwest, weather will also be challenging.
“Travel will be tough because of the precipitation and the wind,” Pydynowski said.
Traveling into the Southeast for the first time this Thanksgiving, expect low temperatures of 20 degrees and wind gusts to 30 mph on Friday.