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Posted at 02:01 PM ET, 11/21/2011

Thanksgiving travel weather: Soaking for East, big storm for Pacific Northwest


(National Weather Service)

Are you ready to get out of town for Thanksgiving? You may want to allow some extra time if you’re traveling in the East and Pacific Northwest Tuesday and Wednesday.

Two cold fronts at these ends of the country - with plenty of moisture to work with - will prove to be soakers. Not to mention, severe weather may breakout Tuesday afternoon in parts of the South and Southeast while damaging winds, river flooding and heavy mountain snow is likely in the Pacific Northwest

The week’s quietest weather day? Thanksgiving Day itself.

Keep reading for the day by day details....


Maps indicating probabiilty of snow over 4” (top), rainfall amounts (middle), and severe thunderstorm potential (bottom) Tuesday morning to Wednesday morning. (National Weather Service)

By the far, the most widespread inclement weather across the country stands to occur Tuesday.

In the East, moderate to heavy rain will stretch from Louisiana to Massachusetts with a slight risk of severe thunderstorms from the Gulf Coast to Tennessee Valley. Count Jackson, Miss, Huntsville, Al. and Nashville, Tenn. among areas that may experience severe weather. Heavy rain, which may cause stream and river flooding, is likely from the Ohio Valley to southern New England (mainly at night), including Harrisburg, Penn, Allentown, Penn. and Hartford, Conn. In interior northern New England, the rain may turn to snow - mainly at high elevations Tuesday night.

In the Pacific Northwest, wind-swept rain and heavy mountain snow is likely Tuesday and Tuesday night. Winds may gust over 30 mph throughout the region (some areas along the coast may gust to 50-70+ mph) and snow amounts from 8 to 16 inches are possible at elevations above 3500 feet.

Seattle meteorologist and weather blogger Cliff Mass writes this about the Pacific Northwest storm:

A VERY serious storm is going to hit the Northwest during the next two days--one that will cause flooding and coastal wind damage. And the urban areas are doing to experience a deluge.

The Olympics, the north Cascades, and the mountains of southwest Washington and NW Oregon are going to get hammered with 5-10 inches of rain.... Even Seattle will get nearly 4-5 inches if this forecast verifies.

There is a serious threat of flooding on a number of rivers. ...

....The other threat of this event is wind--HUGE winds along the Washington and Oregon coasts (worst along the Oregon coast). ...

BIGGEST POTENTIAL FOR TRAVEL DELAYS TUESDAY: northern Mississippi and Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio, western Pennsylvania, coastal Oregon and Washington (including Seattle)


Maps indicating probability of snow over 4” (top) and severe thunderstorm potential (bottom) Wednesday morning to Thursday morning. (National Weather Service)

On Wednesday, inclement weather conditions are concentrated along the immediate East Coast and from the Pacific Northwest into northern California.

Along the East Coast, conditions are probably worst in the morning to midday hours, followed by gradual improvement as the cold front moves offshore. But the day may begin with showers and thunderstorms along the I-95 corridor. While the Storm Prediction Center is not projecting severe weather at this point, a few gusty storms can’t be ruled out, especially south of the Mason Dixon Line from the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore region through the Carolinas. Any snowfall is mainly limited to interior Maine.

Along the West Coast, while the stormiest weather will have passed through Seattle and Portland Tuesday, it will push south into northern California and even into the San Franciso Bay area by Wednesday night.

BIGGEST POTENTIAL FOR TRAVEL DELAYS WEDNESDAY: Atlanta to Boston (morning); Pacific Northwest coast (morning), northern California (afternoon/evening)

Naturally, the most tranquil weather day looks to be Thanksgiving day itself when few will be traveling. The cold front in the East moves into the Atlantic leaving behind cool and breezy but sunny conditions. Meanwhile, some unseasonably mild conditions reaches places like Chicago and Minneapolis as winds turn southerly. And the frontal system in Pacific Northwest dries out as it moves into the Rockies - with little precipitation to speak of

On Black Friday, as the western system moves into the Heartland, it will tap some moisture from the south bringing rain showers from eastern Texas to Wisconsin. Meanwhile, the next storm system slams into the Pacific Northwest. The East remains dry.

Stay tuned for our next update which will examine conditions for the weekend.

By  |  02:01 PM ET, 11/21/2011

Categories:  U.S. Weather, Holidays, Latest

 
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