FOX Weather wants to keep you ahead of the weather during one of the year’s busiest travel times. We take you day by day to help you plan a little extra time into the trip, take another route or let you know where you can leave your travel weather worries behind.
If you are hitting the roads or air this week for Thanksgiving, you are not alone. AAA forecasted the third-busiest Thanksgiving holiday since recordkeeping started in 2000. More people hit the roads only twice before, in 2005 and 2019. The association says 55.4 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home this year, 49.1 million behind the wheel.
TSA expects a record number of passengers this holiday season. Between Friday, November 17 and Tuesday, November 28, TSA expects 30 million passengers.
“We expect this holiday season to be our busiest ever. In 2023, we have already seen seven of the top 10 busiest travel days in TSA’s history,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske in a statement. “We are ready for the anticipated volumes and are working closely with our airline and airport partners to make sure we are prepared for this busy holiday travel season. We will also do our best to maintain wait time standards of under 10 minutes for TSA PreCheck lanes and under 30 minutes for standard screening lanes.”
WHAT AIRPORTS, AIRLINES LOSE THE MOST LUGGAGE?
A storm system develops on the east side of the Rockies and will spell out snow and ice across mountain areas in the four corner states. Don’t leave home without the windshield scraper on Monday. Up to a foot of snow could fall above 8,500 feet.
THANKSGIVING TRAVEL FACES CHALLENGES FROM BUDDING CROSS-COUNTRY STORM
The snow tapers off by the afternoon in the mountains, but wind remains a problem. Wind gusts from 40-50mph are expected in Colorado on Monday. Strong winds, especially near Denver, have been known to cause ground stops, delays, and a good bit of turbulence heading in and out of Denver International Airport. Strong gusts will set up across the central and southern Plains, too.
The FOX Forecast Center cautions about bumpy flights anywhere from Little Rock to New Orleans to Dallas.
NAUGHTY AND NICE AIRPORTS FOR HOLIDAY TRAVEL: WHAT LIST IS YOUR AIRPORT ON?
Gusty winds will also mean both hands on the wheel hitting the interstates. The Smoky Mountains are also in for a windy Monday, with gusts to 40 mph.
“The severe storm threat will shift Southeast, focused from a corridor from Louisiana to Alabama. Severe storms are likely during the afternoon and evening hours,” said the FOX Forecast Center. “Outside of the severe threat, heavy rain from Texas to Georgia may impact anyone traveling on the roads, as well as some major airport hubs.”
SEVERE STORMS BRING STRONG TORNADO THREAT TO GULF COAST DURING BUSY THANKSGIVING TRAVEL WEEK
TSA expects to screen 2.6 million passengers on Tuesday just in time for the storm to push east.
“Widespread rain is expected across much of the eastern U.S.,” said the center. “While the main system moves into the Ohio Valley, a secondary system from Canada will dive south, providing an extra boost to the ongoing storm. This will allow for snow to break out across the Great Lakes, with mostly rain elsewhere.”
HOW A WEATHER DELAY ON A FLIGHT COULD PUT MONEY BACK IN YOUR WALLET
The FOX Forecast Center warns that this is shaping up to be the worst day for travel.
Even though the severe threat decreased, widespread heavy rains will dampen pavement from the Great Lakes to the Florida Panhandle.
Even more travelers will hit the air on Wednesday. TSA expects 2.7 million passengers on Wednesday as wind will continue to be a problem for the Eastern Seaboard.
“As the system continues to move east, a secondary area of low pressure is likely to form near the East Coast near the Jersey Shore early Wednesday morning,” said the center. “This new low would greatly enhance the wind impacts for the coastal regions as it works it way up to the coast before exiting out to sea.”
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR FLIGHT IS CANCELED
“The day before Thanksgiving is notoriously one of the most congested days on our roadways. Travelers should be prepared for long delays, especially in and around major metros,” said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX in a statement. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help minimize holiday traffic frustrations. We advise drivers to use traffic apps, local DOT notifications, and 511 services for real-time updates.”
HOW TO WATCH FOX WEATHER
Hitting the road in the afternoon is a better bet for most of the I-95 Corridor.
“Heavy rain is likely for most of the I-95 corridor Wednesday morning and would be clearing out by midday,” said the center. “Near Boston and across Maine could see impacts linger as the low scrapes the coast, but the worst weather should wrap up by the evening hours.”
Snow could precede the rain across upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
Thanksgiving looks to be the quietest day for weather for the week. So, any last-minute travelers are in luck.
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO IF YOUR LUGGAGE IS DELAYED, LOST OR DAMAGED
“The only hot spot for some activity could be rain across east Texas, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast as some light rain moves into the region,” said the FOX Forecast Center. “This is not expected to be super impactful but could put a damper on the holiday.”
Friday through Sunday
A new storm forms along the Rockies, bringing the possibility for more blustery weather and high-elevation airport delays.
WHAT THANKSGIVING FOODS CAN YOU TAKE THROUGH TSA CHECKPOINTS?
The Southeast also welcomes another round of rain to darken Black Friday.
WHAT ARE THE WORST AIRPORTS TO FLY INTO DURING WINTER?
Watch for slippery roads from Colorado and New Mexico through Houston.
Traveling THIS WINTER? HERE’S WHAT TO KEEP IN YOUR CAR IN CASE YOU GET STUCK
Sunday could be the heaviest travel day of the year. TSA is getting ready to screen 2.9 million passengers on Sunday, which would be a record. The heaviest travel day to date was June 30, 2023, when agents screened just under 2.9 million passengers.
AAA warns of very slow drives on highways in Houston, New York, Portland, Oregon and San Francisco.
DON’T LEAVE ANY OF THESE ITEMS IN YOUR CAR THIS WINTER