Weekend Travel Outlook: Rain, Ice and Snow to Cause Hazards in Central US

By By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist.
November 29, 2015, 6:25:39 AM EST

Travel hazards, delays and disruptions associated with rain, ice and snow will continue over the Central states through the rest of the Thanksgiving weekend.

Rain and snow will force motorists to slow down and will lead to airline delays over thousands of square miles from the Rockies to the Great Lakes and Mississippi Valley.

A major ice storm will not only make for dangerous travel in parts of the Plains but has cut the power to tens of thousands of people.

Storm Continues to Blast Southern Plains


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The weather will have little impact on travel along the Atlantic Seaboard, Appalachians and Pacific coast for much of the long weekend.

JUMP TO: Ice Storm Threatens to Cut Power in Southern Plains | Heavy Rain to Test Travelers in Central US | Intermittent Rain to Dampen Part of East | West to Experience Fewest Travel Delays This Weekend

During the latter part of the holiday weekend, the ice storm will wind down over the southern Plains as spotty snow lingers over the Rockies.


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Before heading out to your favorite retailer this year, take a look at the AccuWeather MinuteCast® for a minute-by-minute forecast of precipitation type and intensity for your exact location.

Meanwhile, the most far-reaching effects will be associated with drenching rain from central Texas to the Midwest. From the lower part of the southern Plains to the middle Mississippi Valley, enough rain can fall to cause flash and urban flooding.

Ice Storm Threatens to Cut Power in Southern Plains

On the northwest flank of the rain area, the ice storm will be serious for some communities by covering roads, downing trees and cause power outages. The ice will make for dangerous travel in the I-27, 35 and 40 corridors.


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The longest duration and biggest accumulation of freezing rain, sleet or mix thereof will extend from eastern New Mexico and western Texas to part of western Missouri. Ice can accrue to a thickness of 0.50 of an inch on exposed surfaces.

According to Mike Smith, senior vice president of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, "The storm will be potent enough to cause significant power failures from Oklahoma to west-central Texas."

As of 6:00 a.m. CST, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, Oklahoma Gas and Electric reported that more than 34,000 customers were without power.

In this swath, a heavy amount of ice can accumulate on roads and build up on elevated surfaces through Saturday night.

Drivers should exercise extreme caution as roads that appear wet could be covered with a clear, frozen glaze known as black ice.

Because of the thickness of the ice in some locations, it may take the balance of Sunday until all secondary roads are cleared of ice or treated.

Heavy Rain to Test Travelers in Central US

Rain over the Plains and Midwest will change its orientation this weekend. Rain will shrink southward over the Midwest, but will linger over the South Central states and may become heavier at the local level.


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During Saturday, Sunday and into Monday, rain will raise the risk of flooding from central and southeastern Texas to much of Arkansas, southeastern Oklahoma, southeastern Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and southern portions of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

Total rainfall in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri will range between 6 and 12 inches in some locations.

RELATED:
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Relentless Rain to Raise Flooding Risk From Texas to Tennessee

Secondary roads over the countryside and underpasses in some of the major cities may be inundated.

Intermittent Rain to Dampen Part of East

Rain will take up only a small part of the long weekend and will only affect a small fraction of the tens of millions of people in the Northeast.

Rain will push into the central Appalachians and part of the northern I-81 corridor during Friday and Friday night.

During Saturday into Sunday, a few hours of rain are possible in along I-95 from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.

Most areas from Florida to the Carolinas will be free of rain through Sunday. This includes Atlanta, New Orleans, Orlando, Florida, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

An exception to the dry weather in the South will be spotty showers along the Georgia and Florida Atlantic coasts.

West to Experience Fewest Travel Delays This Weekend

Spotty light snow and flurries will dot the Rockies on Saturday in the wake of the late-week snowstorm.


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Cities from Seattle to San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas and Phoenix should not experience direct weather-related travel delays from Thanksgiving Day through Sunday. Most days in these areas will feature sunshine.


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However, throughout the nation, due to high volume and the weather over the Central states, sporadic indirect delays are possible. Some crews and aircraft may be displaced by the large storm through Sunday.

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