Millions of Americans across the country are gearing up for Thanksgiving travel this week, but a powerful storm system impacting more than 30 states in the central and eastern U.S. will bring a variety of weather impacts such as severe weather along the Gulf Coast and rain and snow in the Northeast and New England.
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So, if you were planning on traveling ahead of the holiday in the East – buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Here’s a breakdown of each day’s forecast:
Monday: Threat of strong tornadoes grows in Lower Mississippi Valley
Wet weather is expected to have an impact on travel from the Rockies through the Gulf Coast and into the Tennessee and Ohio valleys and Southeast on Monday.
However, the weather with the most potential of creating issues will be along the Gulf Coast with the threat of severe weather, including strong tornadoes rated EF2 or greater, continuing to grow.
NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center has included areas of northern Louisiana and central Mississippi, including Alexandra and Jackson, in a Level 3 out of 5 risk on its severe thunderstorm risk scale.
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New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Mobile, Alabama, are within the Level 2 risk. All areas inside the risk zone could see damaging wind gusts greater than 60 mph and large hail.
Tuesday: More widespread Thanksgiving travel impacts expected
The FOX Forecast Center says more widespread rain is expected across much of the Eastern U.S. on Tuesday, which will have more of an impact on Thanksgiving travel in other major cities.
As this system moves into the Ohio Valley, another system from Canada will dive to the south, providing more fuel for the ongoing storm.
This will allow for snow to break out in the Great Lakes, with mostly rain falling elsewhere. Snow could also fall in the Northeast and in New England, but that will be limited to only the highest elevations.
Meanwhile, the severe weather threat will expand on Tuesday to include more of the Southeast as well as into the mid-Atlantic.
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The SPC placed a large area from southeastern Mississippi to the Carolinas in a Level 1 out of 5 on its thunderstorm risk scale. However, there is an area of southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle which is at a Level 2 out of 5.
There is also a threat of tornadoes, which includes cities with major airports like Atlanta and Charlotte.
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Wednesday and Thanksgiving: Wicked weather begins to wind down
A secondary area of low pressure is likely to form along the East Coast near the Jersey Shore as the main system slides off the coast on Wednesday.
This new low pressure system will likely enhance the wind impacts for coastal regions as it works its way up the coast before it moves out to sea.
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Heavy rain is expected for most of the Interstate 95 corridor on Wednesday morning but will begin to wind down by the time we get into Wednesday afternoon.
Impacts could linger a bit longer for cities along the coast like Boston and areas of Maine as the storm scrapes the coast, but the worst of the weather should wrap up by Wednesday evening.
The FOX Forecast Center says snow is possible in upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine on Wednesday. That snow will be falling ahead of the heavy rain, so the FOX Forecast Center expects there won’t be much accumulation due to the rain expected after.
Most of the country will be clear of major weather impacts on Thanksgiving, and the only hotspot where rain could put a damper on festivities will be in East Texas, Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast.
Keep tabs on the forecast for your Thanksgiving destination using the FOX Weather app. Just open the app and tap the Events tab to get started.