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(CNN) – Thanksgiving vacation trips could be messy, as forecast models continue to show the potential for lowering temperatures and a “major storm” next week.
Depending on where you live, it may be best to leave early. Not everyone has flexibility in their travel plans, but if you do, Fridays and Saturdays seem to be better days than Sunday through Tuesday.
Traveling by airline for the holidays? You may like a bumpy ride.
Keep up to date with the latest delays and the latest forecast models
Here’s the day-to-day breakdown.
On Friday, rain and snow showers will run from the Pacific Ocean to Yellowstone National Park.
Elsewhere, it will be fairly quiet, but the temperature change can be a bit impactful for the system.
“After a warm Thursday in the mid-Atlantic and northeast with temperatures in the 60s and 70s, Friday will feel a lot more like November,” CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward said. “Friday’s highs will be 20 to 25 degrees cooler and most places will struggle to get out of the 40s.”
The only above-average temperatures will be in the areas between Arizona and North Dakota.
The best day of travel next week may be Saturday, as the vast majority of rainfall will only occur in the west between the mountains. Snow and rain showers will occur in areas of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and western Colorado.
After Saturday, traveling becomes a little more dangerous.
Starting Sunday, many more states will feel the impact of snow, ice and dangerous winds.
From the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast, rain will be the main threat, although snow showers will sometimes mix in areas of the upper Midwest.
Rain in Detroit, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Nashville, Memphis and Pittsburgh can cause some delays at the airport, as well as traffic jams on interstates and highways.
Rain accumulations are generally expected to be around an inch or less, but some isolated spots could increase by up to two inches.
“Confidence is highest in a period of strong to strong winds from the upper midwest to Sunday from east to Tuesday and then possibly lingering in the northeast,” the WPC says.
On Sunday, strong winds begin to blow on the northern plains, and on Monday they will move to the midwest. This could cause significant delays for airlines as well as very rough flights in some locations.
On Monday, the cold front will extend from New York to Florida, with rain and wind being the main threats.
Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit will experience strong crosswinds that could cause flight delays.
“Significant disruptions of airlines from the Great Lakes to the northeast with winds of more than 50 mph in some places are possible,” says CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.
Even south as Knoxville and Atlanta could be watching strong winds Monday.
“Models predict that wind speed within the jet stream will be higher than 190 mph in some places,” Myers said. “Pilots will look for softer air to fly, but many passengers are sure to hear ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please keep your seat belts tight.'”
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday there will also be quite a northeast wind, which could cause some flight delays in Boston, New York and Washington, DC.
Monday also marks another big day of temperature changes in the United States.
Much of the temperatures in the Midwest and Ohio River Valley will be well below normal. Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Detroit, Nashville and St. Louis will have high temperatures between 10 and 15 degrees below the seasonal average.
Above-average temperatures will be limited to the area from Denver to the Canadian border, where high temperatures will be 15 to 20 degrees above normal.
On Tuesday, we have some persistent snow showers along the Great Lakes to the east, but we are also seeing a new low-pressure system entering the western mountains. This storm will become the focal point of travel problems in the Midwest on Wednesday.
Note that there is still enough uncertainty in the evolution of this system to allow for other possibilities in terms of precipitation types, as if temperatures are warmer by a few degrees, it would mean the difference between snow and rain for in several states.
Time is also important because the European model propels this storm a little faster, while the American forecast model is a little slower. The speed of advance is also important in determining how much time remains over a given area.
“Many of these details have a lower predictability several days in time, mostly because the support energy is still above or near Alaska at this time,” the WPC said.
Mother Nature could also be confusing her vacation thanks to the big temperature changes.
From Cleveland to Miami, temperatures on Tuesday will average 10 to 15 degrees below normal, making it feel more like Christmas than Thanksgiving.
Quite the opposite for the western intermountain regions and the high plains, which will be 10 to 20 degrees above normal on Tuesday, will look more like Halloween temperatures than Thanksgiving.
On Wednesday, there is a triple dose of travel problems ahead. The first is the storm that may still be lingering in the northeast and continues to bring rain, snow and gusty winds that can make roads and tracks a disaster.
The best snow potential would probably be from the lake effect snow in the Great Lakes and along the Appalachians, from the Carolinas to the northeast.
The second will be the storm entering the midwest. Rain, snow, and even ice are possible for Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois, which could be very dangerous for both road and plane travel.
The third is the system that moves through the west mountain. Snow showers are possible in Denver, Salt Lake City and Cheyenne, Wyoming.
“Across the northern level, the combination of low temperatures and wind would produce wind chills,” the WPC says.
Thanksgiving might be over for Christmas
Hopefully, you’ve already reached your destination, but if not, the good news is that there are relatively few areas with bad weather.
Temperatures are mostly back to normal on Thursday in much of the eastern half of the U.S., but keep in mind that the “normal” may still be cold.
For example, New York will probably see temperatures as low as 40 degrees, so for anyone who can go out to see the big morning parade, be sure to pile up!
What about coming home? While it’s too far to handle the forecast for the weekend after Thanksgiving, two areas appear to have more potential than others for complicated travel: the Pacific Northwest and the Pacific region. the Gulf Coast.
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