Travel Center: It May Become a Matter of Survival on the Roads!

By By Henry Margusity, Sr. Meteorologist
November 24, 2010, 10:15:46 PM EST

Tuesday's update on Interstate Travel for Thanksgiving Week: A blizzard coming across the West has already closed roads across parts of Idaho. More closures will occur from Nevada to Wyoming into Tuesday night.

Poor interstate travel will spread farther east into the Plains Wednesday and Thursday. In some cases, traveling could become a matter of survival on the roads if you become stuck in the extreme weather conditions.

Therefore, it is strongly advised that people in the heart of this storm stay home and off the roads until conditions improve.

Interstate Travel Weather

Northeast and Great Lakes (ME, VT, NH, MA, CT, RI, NY, PA, NJ, MD, DE, VA, WV, KY, OH, IN, MI)

Some snow will develop across Michigan Wednesday night before changing to rain on Thanksgiving Day. There could be enough snow across parts of Michigan to cause delays along most interstates before the change to rain occurs.

A period of snow and ice may hit parts of central and eastern Pennsylvania Thanksgiving morning. There could be enough snow and ice to cause slippery travel along I-80 from State College on east as well as along I-99 and perhaps even the Pennsylvania Turnpike east of the Breezewood Exit Thanksgiving morning and midday.

Lake-effect snow developing across the Great Lakes will become heaviest by late in the week and during the start of the weekend. Expect delays along I-90 and I-81 in New York and along I-80 and I-90 from western New York through Ohio by Saturday.

Heavy thunderstorms will move across Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky on Thanksgiving Day. Expect slow-downs due to the heavy rain and gusty winds along the line of storms. Much colder weather will follow by Thursday night.

Southeast (NC, SC, GA, FL, TN, AL, MS)

Prior to Thanksgiving, the weather will be warm and dry, so travel problems will be very minimal.

Later in the week, a band of showers and thunderstorms will move across the Southeast on Thanksgiving Day.

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Midwest and Northern Plains (WI, IL, MN, IA, NE, ND, SD)

Extremely cold weather will grip the Midwest and northern Plains through Thanksgiving.

Snow and blowing snow will develop Wednesday across the Dakotas and Minnesota and continue into Thanksgiving.

Due to the extremely cold weather and snow, travel along I-90, I-94 and I-35 will be extremely poor and, in some cases, life-threatening. Winter survival kits are a must if you travel. Road closures are also possible late Wednesday into Thursday.

The very cold weather will move across Nebraska and Iowa through Thanksgiving. There will be a little snow, but the extreme cold conditions will be the big problem along I-80.

Heavy thunderstorms will develop across Illinois Wednesday night and last into Thanksgiving morning. Expect slow-downs due to the storms along most interstates.

There is the chance that the rain will end as snow across Wisconsin and northern Illinois on Thanksgiving Day. A few inches of snow may hit that area and cause icy travel due to flash freezes.

Southern Plains (KS, AR, MO, OK, TX, LA)

Severe weather will develop across southern Missouri into eastern Oklahoma Wednesday afternoon and night. The storms may produce damaging wind gusts and tornadoes. Travel delays could develop along interstates of this region due to the storms.

Thunderstorms may also occur all the way into Dallas Wednesday night.

There is the potential for damaging wind gusts and tornadoes with these storms. Interstates that could be impacted include I-20, I-30, I-35, I-40, I-44 and I-70.

Northwest and Rockies (CA, NV, UT, WA, OR, ID, MT, WY, CO) DANGEROUS travel will continue across Idaho, northern Nevada, northern Utah and western Wyoming into tonight. Snow, blowing snow and blizzard conditions will shut down travel on many roads and Interstates.

Many roads across the southern half of Idaho were already shut down due to the extreme conditions. I-80, I-15 and I-84 are the major interstates that will be affected. Stay off the roads if you can.

Across Montana, extreme cold will continue through Wednesday. There will be some light snow with heavier snow over the higher passes. Be prepared for extreme cold across I-90, I-15 and I-94.

Travel will improve Tuesday across Washington and Oregon. Road conditions will be the worst across the eastern part of theses states, including I-90 and I-84.

Very cold weather and even some snow will plunge down the I-25 corridor from Montana to Denver Wednesday. Though snowfall will total up to only a few inches, temperatures falling into the single digits will cause roads to ice over quickly.

Chains are required over Donner Summit Tuesday. I-80 eastbound was closed as of Tuesday morning. Check ahead for restrictions over the summit. Cal Dot Information

Southwest (AZ, NM)

Few travel problems are expected across Arizona and New Mexico through Wednesday.

For details on how the weather will impact airports next week, check out our center for projected airport delays




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