A winter storm could wallop the east coast next week, wreaking havoc on the roads and flights as more than 53 million Americans make their way home for Thanksgiving – after many were forced to skip last year’s gatherings due to Covid.
The National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center warned the storm could be ‘potentially significant.’
It could be disappointing news for the scores of Americans who already missed celebrating the holiday with loved ones during last year’s Thanksgiving due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Weather models are forecasting it will former in the central plains next Sunday and moving northeast into Canada while dumping snow across parts of Minnesota, north Wisconsin and northern Michigan.
The storm could result in ‘heavy accumulations’ from northern Indiana and Michigan to Maryland next Monday through Wednesday, meteorologists said.
‘We could be looking at a huge mess and a real wrench in holiday travel,’ said AccuWeather chief meteorologist Jon Porter.
The storm could also trigger heavy rainfalls along the east coast Monday and Tuesday, possibly leading to flooding and disrupted ground travel, AccuWeather said.
About 53.4million people are expected to travel during this year’s Thanksgiving holidays, according to the American Automobile Association.
The figure is about five percent less than the amount of people who traveled during the 2019 Thanksgiving weekend.
About 48.3 million Americans are expected to reach their destinations by car this year, while 4.2 million will travel by air.
The remainder will travel by bus, train, or boat.
Forecasters said it’s also possible that a slower-moving storm could cause a spinoff storm along the mid-Atlantic coast Monday, moving into the Northeast on Tuesday.
Heavy rains and flooding could spell trouble for those in the central Appalachian through mid-Atlantic regions as the storm moves into upstate New York and New England on Monday and Tuesday, an AccuWeather expert said.
‘This storm can bring a lot of rain to the Interstate 95 corridor,’ said lead long-range meteorologist Paul Pastelok.
AccuWeather meteorologists say one weather scenario involves ‘heavy accumulations’ from northern Indiana and Michigan to Maryland next Monday through Wednesday. The storm could also trigger heavy rainfalls along the east coast
Another weather scenario could cause a spinoff storm along the mid-Atlantic coast Monday, moving into the Northeast on Tuesday
The storm is likely to begin approaching the northeast region next Monday, forecasters say
A storm is forecasted to hit Monday and Tuesday, but should begin clearing by Wednesday
Winter weather is already starting to emerge in parts of the nation.
Snow began falling as President Joe Biden delivered a speech on infrastructure Tuesday in Woodstock, New Hampshire on Thursday.
Biden was in the area to visit a bridge that has been listed in poor condition since 2013.
While next week’s weather predictions might worry some travelers, some experts say it’s too early to start panicking.
‘We will be watching it closely, but at this point, it’s really hard to have any confidence [in the forecast for early next week),’ National Weather Service meteorologist Jonathan O’Brien told nj.com.
‘It’s still too early to say.’
Winter weather is already starting to emerge in parts of the nation. Snow fell as President Joe Biden delivered a speech on infrastructure in Woodstock, New Hampshire on Tuesday
About 53.4 million Americans are expected to travel during the Thanksgiving holiday
Airlines are already grappling with staff shortages which reportedly resulted in thousands of flights being cancelled earlier this year.
American Airlines, for instance, said on October 30 that it canceled more than 1,200 flights over a single weekend due to staff shortages and unfavorable weather conditions.
And Southwest Airlines’ chief operating officer Mike Van de Ven told employees last month that a ‘staffing cushion’ was necessary to prevent schedule reductions during the winter, Business Insider reported.
Storms have not always had the most convenient timing for holiday travelers.
In 2019, more than 600 flights were canceled and nearly 5,000 others were delayed by Thanksgiving morning after a ‘bomb cyclone’ paralyzed the US.