Winter Thanksgiving storms bringing snow, winds, rain to U.S.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade balloons may be grounded

While much of Thanksgiving Day in Atlanta looks like clear sailing, other parts of the U.S. may not be so lucky.

According to Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brian Monahan, a big system will spread snow Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning across parts of the Plains and Great Lakes, from Minneapolis to Wisconsin to northern Michigan, with rain and wind through most of the Mid-West.

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“Winter storm warnings are in effect with several inches of snow possible,” he said. The National Weather Service is forecasting between six to 10 inches in those areas.

“That rain moves into the northeast Wednesday evening with wind to follow,” Monahan said. “Strong wind gusts of between 30 to 40 mph could keep the balloons grounded for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on Thursday. Temperatures will be in the 30s and 40s there.”

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Out west, Monahan said there will likely be travel delays along the west coast, including down through southern California, as wet weather moves in Wednesday. Another system is forecast to spread rain across the southern Plains, including Oklahoma City and Dallas, on Thanksgiving Day.

Here in Atlanta, Monahan predicts rain coming through Wednesday that will slow down the morning travelers, but clear skies and highs near 70 later in the afternoon.

“We’ll be a little cooler on Thanksgiving Day but overall, clear sailing with sunshine and temperatures in the low 60s,” he said.

»Travel weather: Check forecast for any US city

More than 55 million travelers are making plans to kick off the holiday season with a trip of 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving, according to the latest figures from AAA.

That makes Thanksgiving 2019 the second-highest holiday travel volume since AAA began tracking in 2000, trailing only the record set in 2005.

»RELATED: The best and worst times to drive and shop during Thanksgiving week

But holiday travel times are also some of the most dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,399 traffic fatalities have occurred on Thanksgiving and Christmas from 2015 to 2018.

According to AAA, 1.6 million more people will travel during this year’s holiday season than last year, a 2.9% increase.

»MORE: Record 31.6 million airline passengers expected over Thanksgiving travel period

Most holiday travelers will drive to their destinations. INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects Wednesday afternoon to be the worst travel period nationally, with trips taking as much as four times longer than normal in major cities, including Atlanta.

»AJC Atlanta airport guide for Thanksgiving travel