Weather will impact travelers in the central and western part of the US this Thanksgiving weekend. A strong storm system moving into the Western US will cause a variety of weather problems across much of the country this week and into the holiday weekend.
Heavy snow is expected in the western US especially in the higher elevations tonight and into Wednesday. The areas in the lighter blues and oranges shown below indicate areas of a 50% confidence or higher of seeing at least 4 inches of snow through Wednesday evening.
Snowfall amounts will be greater in the higher elevations with 4 to 10 inches possible in areas with Winter Storm Warnings. The graphic below outlines the Winter Storm Warnings (shown in pink) and winter weather advisories (shown in purple).
The Low will continue impact the Rockies on Thanksgiving with snow, while snow, ice and rain moving into the Central Plains. In addition rain will spread from the Southern Plains into the Great Lakes.
Significant snow accumulations are again expected Wednesday evening into Thursday evening, especially in higher terrain. The areas in the light blue, orange show a 50% chance or greater of seeing at least 4 inches of snow with the areas in red a 90% confidence of 4 inches and more.
For Friday, the system shifts into the Mississippi River Valley and Great Lakes allowing the cold front to plunge into North Texas.
The threat for ice and snow increases across the Central and Southern Plains as the cold air surges in behind the front Thursday and into Friday. The first graphic in this article highlights areas in the central and southern Plains already in a Winter Storm Watch or Winter Weather Advisory for Thursday, Friday and even into Saturday.
The risk of significant snow Thursday Night and into Friday is mainly across Colorado and northern New Mexico.
The risk for freezing rain is farther east extending from the Texas Panhandle into Iowa. The areas in blue show a 50% chance or greater of seeing at least 0.10 inch of ice which is enough to cause very slick road conditions.
Rainfall Totals Through The Weekend
On the eastern and warmer side of this system, heavy rainfall will occur. For Tonight through Thursday Evening, the 2-day liquid totals show widespread 0.50 inches to areas of 1.5 to 3 inches of rain.
The rain will continue Friday and into the weekend across much of the Southern Plains and Mississippi River Valley resulting in widespread 5 day totals of 3+inches with areas of 5 – 8 across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri.
Some observations sites including Dallas and Oklahoma City airports are within a few inches of their all-time wettest year on record. The precipitation this weekend may be enough to set those records.
With the heavy rainfall, localized flooding will likely occur especially Friday and into the weekend. An area off concern, if the heavier rain occurs farther north is a rain on snow induced flood event. The storm this past weekend left a swath of snow from South Dakota to Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. The satellite image below shows the snow covered areas from this past weekend’s storm. This will bear watching as rain on snow events can quickly lead flooding.
If you are traveling this holiday, ensure you have a stocked emergency kit in your vehicle. Ready.gov has some suggestions of what you should have in your car for winter weather preparedness. In addition, let people know when you leave, the route you are traveling and updates along your drive. So if you become stranded, someone will know where you might be for assistance.
The team at WxIntegrations will continue to provide relevant information and resources to help you better understand and prepare by incorporating weather impacts into your planning and response.