Massive Thanksgiving Rainstorm Affects Travel in the Southern US

AccuWeather meteorologists say the storm will cause numerous delays for holiday travelers and Black Friday shoppers in the South as hazards such as localized flooding develop over the extended holiday weekend. File photo by Anthony Stalcup/UPI | License Photo

The south-central and southeastern parts of the United States are expected to bear the brunt of the effects of a massive cross-country storm starting on Thanksgiving Day and lasting into the holiday weekend.

AccuWeather meteorologists say the storm will cause numerous delays for holiday travelers and Black Friday shoppers as hazards such as localized flooding develop over the extended holiday weekend.

An upper-level storm, the first part of the major Thanksgiving storm, will move across the western United States by midweek. As it encounters moisture flowing north from the Gulf of Mexico, a major storm will form over the southern Plains and Mississippi Delta on Thanksgiving Day.

“As the storm progresses from Thursday to Friday, downpours will fill some rain gauges in the lower Mississippi Valley and Southeast, perhaps on the order of 2 to 4 inches, especially from East Texas to North Georgia, South Carolina and western North Carolina,” said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Bill Deger.

Local rainfall of up to 6 inches is most likely from northeastern Texas to northern Louisiana and northwestern Mississippi.

“Due to the drought in the area and low water levels in most rivers, lakes and reservoirs, rain is not necessarily unwelcome, but the timing will be inconvenient as it will arrive just in time for the holidays and will have some impact on outdoor activities.” plans and travel,” Deger said.

Motorists may experience poor visibility and excess water on roads in the Interstate 10, 20, and 40 corridors. Given the large number of vehicles on major highways and secondary roads, weather conditions and traffic can be a dangerous combination. AccuWeather forecasters recommend that people allow extra time to reach their destination and remain vigilant for poor conditions and the potential for puddles on roads while driving.

Most of the rain falls Wednesday night through Friday around Dallas and Houston. In the zone from New Orleans to Shreveport, La., the worst travel conditions are Thursday through Friday night.

Farther east, a more typical double amount of rainfall is likely to occur as one storm system moves away and another forms and gains strength.

Around Atlanta, for example, the first primary dose of soaking rain is expected for Thursday night.

“But, a There will be a large amount of precipitation Saturday night in Atlanta and much of the busy I-85 corridor, likely leading to travel delays,” said AccuWeather’s chief meteorologist, Bernie Rayno.

AccuWeather forecasters say people shopping on Small Business Saturday should be aware of another danger. Thunder and lightning may accompany rain in the southeast on Saturday. Locally there may also be some heavy and gusty winds. AccuWeather meteorologists will continue to monitor the situation for severe weather threats.

For those spending their extended Thanksgiving weekend at central Florida’s theme parks, Friday and Saturday will be 1980s highlights. Thunderstorms are expected across Florida on Friday, with occasional showers on Saturday.

Multiple downpours in recent weeks from near the Gulf Coast to the Ohio Valley have caused water levels along the Mississippi River to periodically rise. While most of the rain from the upcoming storm will be concentrated in the Delta area, it should give water levels on the waterway a brief boost and allow barge traffic to continue for a while.

A patch of cool air should be enough to control widespread severe thunderstorms with this system through Friday.

“Still, some strong thunderstorms may erupt along the northwestern Gulf Coast on Thanksgiving Day and over the north-central Gulf Coast on Friday,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Adam Douty said. “Some of these storms can be quite heavy and gusty.” There is a chance that storms could turn severely right along the I-10 corridor.

Currently, AccuWeather forecasters are highlighting the risk of heavy downpours in the area, but they remain concerned about more intense storms near the Gulf.

However, the storm may strengthen enough on Saturday to bring last-minute severe weather to the southeastern states. “There will be at least some threat of severe weather from Saturday night to Saturday night from coastal South Carolina to southern Georgia,” Rayno said.

There will be a cold side to the storm, and that could put some at risk of some wintry weather.

As the storm strengthens, it will draw in just enough cold air on the northwest flank to produce a patch of heavy, accumulating snow in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and eastern New Mexico from later Thanksgiving Day through Friday night and maybe early Saturday.

A general 6-12 inches of snow will cover northwestern Texas and part of eastern New Mexico.

Despite snow covering the southern High Plains, unlike last week, no massive cold airflow is expected to follow the storm in the South Central and Southeastern states.

Instead, the jet stream will extend west to east across the country later this weekend into early next week. This configuration generally allows for average to slightly above average temperatures. Sunday and Monday highs generally range from the 1960s in the I-20 corridor to the 1970s along the upper Gulf Coast.

As rain shifts across the Midwest and Northeast, travel conditions will improve significantly in the South Central region on Saturday and in the Southeast on Sunday. Any rain and fog, which could cause brief travel delays, to start the day Sunday from Florida to the Carolinas coast should clear by noon.

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