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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Post-Thanksgiving travel could be hampered by severe weather across country

Heavy rain and strong winds are expected in the southern Great Plains this weekend from Texas stretching to Mississippi where it’s already raining, threatening post-Thanksgiving travel plans, according to the National Weather Service.

A deep upper level low will continue to bring rain to the region and slowly shift into the Central Plains on Saturday, impacting major cities such as Dallas, Oklahoma City, New Orleans and Memphis, Tennessee.

Nearly 55 million people were expected to travel 50 miles or more from their homes this Thanksgiving weekend — 98% of pre-pandemic levels, according to AAA.

Wind advisories are in place for around 9 million people across the southeast, including New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Birmingham, Huntsville and Asheville, Alabama. These alerts are in effect from Saturday night through Sunday morning, as wind gusts up to 40 mph are possible.

By Sunday morning, the rain will shift into the southeast, mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes region, which could impact morning travel for cities such as Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Charlotte, North Carolina, and Nashville, Tennessee.

This wall of rain will eventually arrive in the Northeast by Sunday afternoon, impacting New York, Philadelphia and Boston. The heaviest downpours should end between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., with rain ending by the late evening.

Although the severe weather risk is very low on Sunday, there will be the potential for strong winds and frequent lightning that could impact travel, especially in the Northeast.

Another developing storm system will also continue to bring heavy rain in addition to mountain snow to the Pacific Northwest this weekend, according to the weather service.

Winter weather advisories are in place for parts of the Cascades and Northern Rockies, including northern Idaho, Montana, and southeast Wyoming.

High wind watch alerts are also in place for this region through Sunday, with gusts up to 50 to 70 mph possible. This will create hazardous travel conditions, especially in the higher elevations and passes.

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