A major storm could disrupt your Thanksgiving travel plans (here’s what you need to know)

Due to the cultural rites associated with the holiday, Thanksgiving has long been the busiest time of the year to travel.

In 2023, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is anticipating 30 million people to pass through the country’s airports during the period of Nov. 17-28 while the highest number of flights — 49,606 — is scheduled for the Wednesday right before the holiday. While this number includes both those driving and flying, data from AAA predicts that more than 55 million people will travel at least 50 miles from home over Thanksgiving.

Related: Be thankful! Driving to Thanksgiving gatherings is cheaper this year

All this travel will take place as a storm warning descends on several parts of the country. According to a report from the National Weather Service, a thunderstorm started to descend upon parts of California, Oregon and Southern Washington over the weekend and could bring with it heavy rain and winds lasting throughout the week.

The price of gas is cheaper than in 2022.


These areas could face serious flight delays in coming days 

Heavy thunderstorms are also expected for parts of Oklahoma and Texas early in the week while other Midwestern states like Illinois and Ohio are being warned about heavy downpour that is expected to clear up by Thanksgiving but could cause disruption to those traveling earlier in the week.

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“Airline passengers and motorists in Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, Cleveland and perhaps even Pittsburgh can expect drenching rain to begin sometime Monday night, with a thorough soaking expected for many on Tuesday,” AccuWeather’s Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski wrote in a report.

Over on the East Coast, a separate thunderstorm is expected to bring heavy rain and possibly some snow over to parts of New York City, Washington, D.C. and Boston on Monday and Tuesday. This will affect those driving through the area as the heavy rains and winds of up to 30 miles per hour will affect visibility.

“As the chilly air catches up with the back side of a storm over the Atlantic, a period of snow may bring a small accumulation to some of the higher elevations from northern New York to northern New England later Saturday and Saturday night,” Sosnowski said. “However, travel problems due to the burst of wintry weather and brief snow showers that can occur on Sunday from southern Ontario to southern New York and northern New England will be brief and localized.”

‘Everything you would not want to see as you’re heading out for your holiday travels’

The good news is that many of these weather events are expected to clear up by Thanksgiving Day. 

But those who are traveling through the affected areas in the days leading up to the holiday are encouraged to monitor the situation and not try to “risk it” if the weather takes a turn for the worse. Residents of Western and Northern New York State have already been warned to avoid all travel during the snowstorm by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

“You’ll be either stuck at home not able to travel, or worst case there, you could be stuck on one of the roads or the New York State Thruway,” Hochul’s office said in a press release ahead of the holiday. “I just want to remind everybody to be vigilant. We’re expecting freezing rain, snow accumulations, high winds – everything you would not want to see as you’re heading out for your holiday travels.”

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