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Thanksgiving weather: Two big storms could snarl travel next week

CNN logo CNN 11/22/2019 By Jennifer Gray, CNN Meteorologist
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According to AAA, 50 million people are expected to take to the roads, rails and skies during Thanksgiving week. However, two big storms could slow your roll to grandma's house. Do keep in mind that Thanksgiving is a week away, and the forecast can change. But as of now -- here's an early look at what you can expect.

Follow the forecast with CNN's storm tracker

Storm to batter the Midwest

Low pressure pushes east of the Rockies during the day on Tuesday, bringing a quick round of snow to the Plains before quickly strengthening and taking aim at the Midwest.

  • Chicago will start out with rain on Tuesday afternoon, then turn to snow late Tuesday. The snow should be out of Chicago by Wednesday morning.
  • Parts of Wisconsin and Michigan will get a round of heavy snow on Tuesday and early Wednesday before clearing out.
  • Behind the system, temperatures will drop 5-15 degrees. Much of the Midwest will have highs in the upper 30s to low 40s for Thanksgiving day, with dry conditions.

The next system moves through the West

An area of low pressure will pump moisture into California late Wednesday and throughout the day on Thursday, leaving Thanksgiving day gray and dreary.

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  • The heaviest rain will be in Southern California -- from Los Angeles area, down to San Diego.
  • A quick round of snow will also blanket the Sierras on Thursday.
  • Much of the rain and snow will be moving out of the Southwest by Friday.

What about the Northeast and Macy's Parade?

There will be a quick round of rain for the Northeast on Wednesday, but it should be cleared out by Thanksgiving Day.

Temperatures will drop about 10-15 degrees behind the front, so Thanksgiving will be cooler, but closer to average.

So far, the forecast looks dry for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The start of the parade should be under partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the low 40s, and a Northwest wind 10-15 mph. Highs are expected in the mid-40s.

Busiest travel season

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AAA is expecting this year to be the second-highest number of travelers in at least a decade. The organization is predicting an increase of 1.6 million travelers compared to last year, with most people driving to their destination -- thanks to lower gas prices.

Wednesday is expected to be the day with the most traffic congestion. Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Houston and San Francisco could see more than three times their normal traffic on Wednesday.


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