Severe weather sweeping across US threatens Thanksgiving travel


(NEW YORK) — A severe weather system is forecast to sweep across the United States as Americans gather for Thanksgiving during one of the busiest holiday travel weeks of the year.

After dumping rain and snow on the West Coast over the weekend, a cross-country storm is headed for the East Coast where it’s expected to unleash heavy rain, wind and snow across major travel hubs this week, including Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington, D.C. and New York City.

The storm was forecast to hit the Chicago area on Monday night, with moderate rain beginning at approximately 10 p.m. ET. Moderate rain was expected to start in Atlanta and Charlotte early Tuesday at around 4 a.m. ET; in Washington, D.C. at 10 a.m. ET; and in New York City at 5 p.m. ET.

The heaviest rain for the Interstate 95 travel corridor — one of the busiest nationwide — is forecast to begin after 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday and continue until about 6 a.m. ET on Wednesday. Flash flooding is possible along I-95, so those driving to reach their Thanksgiving destinations should exercise extreme caution.

Both Atlanta and Charlotte are in the marginal risk for damaging winds on Tuesday. These locations can expect to see rain for much of the day along with strong wind gusts at times, making delays at airports almost a certainty.

The biggest delays at airports and the worst conditions on the roads are expected to occur on Tuesday due to the severe weather.

There were at least five tornadoes reported in Louisiana and Mississippi overnight Monday into early Tuesday.

A few tornadoes are possible across south Alabama and the Florida Panhandle on Tuesday, mainly during the morning into the afternoon. The potential for locally damaging winds and a couple brief tornadoes will shift farther north and east on Tuesday afternoon into early Wednesday across most of Georgia, the Carolinas and far southern Virginia.

Snow is expected to start in falling northern New England on Tuesday afternoon and continue through Wednesday night. Six to 12 inches of snowfall is in the forecast for parts of Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

Temperatures on Thanksgiving morning — Thursday — are forecast to feel like the 20s and 30s for the majority of the U.S. Those chilly temperatures are expected to linger through the holiday weekend, marking the first bitter cold of the season.

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