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Snow, Rain, Storms to Cause Holiday Travel Trouble

By By Meghan Evans, Meteorologist
December 21, 2011, 1:35:14 AM EST

Rounds of storms producing rain and snow will impact holiday travel for millions of people next week.

According to AAA, 91.9 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home during the holidays this year. It is expected to be the second highest number of people traveling in the past 10 years.

A region-to-region breakdown of impacts on holiday travel can be found below.

Episodes of Rain, Snow Could Disrupt Travel in the Northeast

Any early travelers on Monday should fare pretty well as far as weather goes. High pressure off the East Coast will allow for dry weather across much of the region with chilly temperatures to the north and milder air over the mid-Atlantic.

There will be the chance of a few snow showers sneaking into areas from western New York through northern New England on Monday that could slow travel with reduced visibility and some slick spots on roads.

It appears that a storm will be approaching from the south and west on Tuesday night, spreading rain across the southern mid-Atlantic. Motorists traveling across Virginia, Maryland, Delaware southern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey could run into a soaking rain and spray from other vehicles.

Meteorologist Bill Deger has more on the threat for some snow and light icing over the Northeast through midweek.


Rain will expand across more of the Northeast at midweek, reaching southern and central new England by Wednesday afternoon. Travel along the I-95, from Washington, D.C., through New York City and Boston might be impacted. Other interstates where reduced visibility and an increased risk of hydroplaning will be a risk include: I-76, I-80, I-81 and I-90.

Snow will fall along the northern edge from northern New York to northern New England.

As that storm finally departs the region Wednesday night into Thursday, colder air will wrap around the backside. This could allow some snow and a wintry mix to fall in the mountains from Pennsylvania through New Hampshire. Rain will continue to dampen coastal areas and the I-95 corridor.

Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski recently warned about another storm that could develop and impact the Northeast by Christmas weekend. "This storm may originate in the Gulf of Mexico and could make a run up along the Atlantic Seaboard with a swath of snow by the time it reaches the I-95 mid-Atlantic."

Rain, Thunderstorms to Slow Travel Across the South

The week will start out with some sunshine and warmth persisting across the South. While there should not be weather-related travel problems on Monday, a cold front will move from west to east on Tuesday, igniting showers and thunderstorms. Wet weather could slow travel and cause delay flights across the western and central portions of the Gulf states, the Tennessee Valley, portions of the Carolinas and southern Virginia.

The storm will make slow progress to the East through midweek with rain overspreading the Southeast coast. Rain will lower visibility from Georgia through the Carolinas and Virginia. Some showers could pop up and cause occasional delays from the Florida Panhandle through eastern Tennessee and Kentucky.

Travel could be slowed along I-40, I-64, I-75, I-85 and I-95. Flight delays are a possibility in Atlanta, Ga., Charlotte, N.C., and Norfolk, Va.

Most areas should dry out for Thursday, allowing for better travel conditions. Late in the week, though, a storm could be brewing in the Gulf of Mexico, allowing rain to overspread portions of the Gulf states and the Southeast. Once again, travel could be slowed.


Snow, Rain, Brisk Winds May Delay Travel in Plains, Midwest

An early week storm will be entrenched in enough cold air to drop snow across portions of the southern Rockies into the southern High Plains. On Monday, slick and hazardous travel may threaten early holiday travelers across portions of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles as well as western and central Kansas. Travel could turn dangerous along portions of I-25, I-40 and I-70.

Farther south and east, locally heavy rain and severe thunderstorms will blossom across central and eastern Texas, Oklahoma, southeastern Kansas and Missouri. Some showers and thunderstorms will proceed eastward into the Lower Mississippi Valley. Motorists who travel along I-10, I-20, I-35 and I-45 should prepare for sudden blinding downpours.

Brisk winds and snow showers from a clipper system will be around the Great Lakes on Monday. A few of the heavier band of snow can suddenly reduce visibility and cause road conditions to deteriorate rapidly.


As the more potent storm moves on from the southern Plains, some snow will spread into the Lower Midwest Tuesday into Wednesday There could be travel delays from Iowa through northern Illinois and southern Michigan with accumulating snow. Chicago and Detroit could get some snow from this storm, causing flight delays. The air will be too mild for snow along the Ohio River Valley, so rain may slow travel in this region.

The weather will dry out briefly during the middle of the week before a storm starts brewing in the Gulf of Mexico late in the week. Rain could pour down across portions of eastern and southern Texas through the Arklatex region.

Depending on how far north the moisture reaches, there could be some pockets of ice and snow along the in the central Plains into the Upper Midwest. on Thursday. More snow and a wintry mix may spread across the Great Lakes region by Friday.

More Rain, Mountain Snow to Make Travel a Slow-go in West

Early holiday travelers will run into weather-related slowdowns across portions of the southern Rockies. Yet another storm pushing across the region will dump snow in the Four Corners region into Monday. The mountains of northern New Mexico and Colorado will be the main targets for snow. However, some snow showers will whiten areas to the lee of the Rockies in Colorado.

Travel delays are a possibility at Denver International Airport even with light accumulations of snow expected. This could cause ripple-effect delays.

The rest of the West will dry out early in the week in the wake of the storm, which will depart into the Plains by late Monday. No weather-related travel problems are anticipated.

On Tuesday, a new storm will approach the Pacific Northwest coast, spreading rain into the coast and snow across the Cascades and the far northern Rockies. Through the middle to latter part of the week, the storm will push inland. Snow and low-elevation rain will spread farther south and east across the West and the Rockies.

Another round of rain and mountain snow will sweep southward across California Thursday and Thursday night, while snow spreads from the northern Rockies all the way to the Four Corners region again.

This will be the same storm that will regenerate over the Gulf of Mexico by Friday.

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