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Tracking trouble spots for midweek holiday travel

Fifty-five million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving this year according to AAA.  This is the second highest travel volume since AAA started tracking the amount of travelers in 2000.  Those traveling on Wednesday (the second busiest travel day of the year) or Thursday may encounter weather that could cause a few headaches.

To find the root cause for the potential midweek headaches we have to look out over the Pacific Ocean.  There is a piece of upper-level energy moving over the Pacific Ocean.  This is expected to quickly move back to the northeast, arriving over the northwest United States Monday morning.

24-hour IR satellite loop

An area of low pressure is expected to develop over the central Rocky Mountains Monday evening, exiting the Rockies in southern Colorado Tuesday morning.  The low is projected to deepen/strengthen as it crosses Kansas and lifts north in to Iowa by late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning.

Mean sea level pressure and precipitation forecast at 1 a.m. Wednesday.

The low will keep traveling east-northeast over the following 24 hours, eventually reaching the Atlantic Ocean by early Thursday morning.

Along the path of the low, and north and south of it, precipitation will develop in all forms.  Rain, snow, wintry mix are all anticipated.

The map above indicates areas of the lower 48 states that could see travel issues Wednesday due to the weather.

The system mentioned above will be impacting the upper Midwest from Minnesota/Iowa to Vermont/Massachusetts with rain, snow and wind.   The area highlighted in orange is where strong, gusty winds could develop Wednesday afternoon and evening.  If you are traveling east on I-70 out of central Indiana, you are going to get great gas mileage.  If you are traveling west on I-70 or northwest on I-74, plan on a strong headwind.

A cold front will extend south of the area of low pressure, through Georgia to the gulf coast.  This could bring showers and thunderstorms to the Atlanta area late morning through early afternoon.  Depending on the exact timing, some flight delays could be possible out of the Atlanta Hartsfield airport.

Rain and snow showers are projected to develop over New Mexico and western Texas.  Some of the rain could extend as far east as Dallas by late afternoon/early evening.  While I’m not expecting much in the way of thunderstorms, rain could create a few delays in/out of Dallas-Fort Worth airport.

In the western United States rain and snow showers (high elevation) will be possible Wednesday afternoon in to Wednesday night.

You can monitor flight delays and radar on a tool available here on CBS4Indy.com.  You can also find links to airlines that fly in/out of the Indianapolis International Airport.

 

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