A storm with rain and heavy snow will cause major disruptions and delays for Thanksgiving travel on the East Coast and in the Appalachians.
According to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, “In most cases, the worst time to travel in the mid-Atlantic and New England due to the storm will be on Wednesday and Wednesday night.”
“The best time to travel will be Tuesday and Tuesday night in these same areas, with the next best time on Thanksgiving Day.”
Rain will initially spread northward along the Interstate-95 with snow and rain to start farther west in the I-81 corridor. However, a change to snow will take place from west to east from northern Virginia to New England.
The storm will bring mostly snow to the I-81 swath in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, I-84 in southeastern New York state, as well as much of interior New England, where a general 6-12 inches of snow are forecast.
Some places across the Hudson Valley and New England could even have snow totals exceeding a foot.
“The storm should rapidly strengthen off the coast of New England on Wednesday night, leading to strong and gusty winds, especially near the coast. This would lead to some blowing and drifting of the snow, making travel on Wednesday night very difficult,” stated AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Ben Noll as he discussed the impacts in this storm scenario.
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Enough rain, low clouds and poor visibility will occur to lead to airline and highway delays ahead of the snow.
Rain will change to snow in the I-95 cities from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, to Philadelphia, New York City, Boston and Portland, Maine, during the latter part of the storm.
While the heaviest snow will fall in the northern and western suburbs of the I-95 Northeast cities, enough snow can fall to make city roads slushy and slippery.
Best Bets for Avoiding Weather-Related Travel Delays
The best bet for ground and air travel in the mid-Atlantic and New England will be during the day Tuesday and Tuesday night. Travel by ground may be satisfactory in northern New England Wednesday morning. However, for those traveling long distance by vehicle will run the risk of getting caught in the snowstorm Wednesday afternoon and evening.
Even though weather conditions will improve in the South later Wednesday and Wednesday night, possible flight delays may continue as some aircraft originating from the Northeast may be stuck in the snowstorm.
Travel conditions will improve on Thanksgiving Day in the Northeast. However, some roads may still be snow-covered early in the day. Be on the lookout for icy spotty Thanksgiving night as areas that were previously wet and slushy can become icy.
Travelers in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast planning to head to their Thanksgiving destinations should continue to check back with AccuWeather.com for the latest on this storm and consider travel alternatives.
Timeline of the Worst Weather Conditions for Travel
Florida The worst conditions for travel due to rain and thunderstorms will be Tuesday into Tuesday night. Travel will improve from north to south on Wednesday.
Atlanta to Charlotte, North Carolina The worst travel conditions due to rain will be Tuesday night into early Wednesday. Travel conditions will improve Wednesday afternoon and night.
Savannah, Georgia, to Norfolk, Virginia The worst travel conditions due to rain will be Tuesday into Wednesday morning. Travel conditions will improve from south to north during the balance of Wednesday.
Raleigh, North Carolina, to Richmond, Virginia The worst conditions due to rain will be Tuesday night into Wednesday midday. Travel conditions will improve from south to north Wednesday afternoon.
Washington, D.C. and Baltimore Rain, or a mix of wet snow and rain will slow travel Wednesday morning, but the worst conditions will be during the afternoon and evening as the wintry mix changes to snow. Some roads will become slushy.
Philadelphia Rain, or a mix of wet snow and rain will slow travel Wednesday morning and midday, but the worst conditions will be from the middle of the afternoon into the evening as the wintry mix changes to snow. Some roads will become slippery.
New York City Rain, or a mix of wet snow and rain will slow travel into Wednesday afternoon, but the worst conditions will be toward evening into Wednesday night as snow falls. Some roads will become slippery.
Boston Rain, or a mix of wet snow and rain will slow travel during the early part of the day Wednesday, but the worst conditions will begin Wednesday afternoon through Wednesday night as snow falls. Roads will become slippery.
Portland, Maine A mix of rain, sleet and snow to start at midday on Wednesday will change to all snow and continue through Wednesday night. The worst conditions will be from late Wednesday afternoon through Wednesday night. Roads will become snow-covered and slippery.
Harrisonburg, Virginia, to Hagerstown, Maryland Any wintry mix to start on Wednesday will change to all snow and become heavy at times. Travel will be difficult throughout the day Wednesday. Roads will become snow-covered and slippery.
Harrisburg and Scranton, Pennsylvania Rain will change to snow Wednesday morning. The worst conditions will be during the day Wednesday into Wednesday evening. Roads will become snow-covered and slippery.
Binghamton and Albany, New York Snow will arrive Wednesday morning. The worst conditions will be Wednesday afternoon and night. Roads will be snow-covered and slippery.
Worcester, Massachusetts and Concord, New Hampshire Snow will fall Wednesday midday. The worst conditions will be Wednesday afternoon through Wednesday night. Roads will be snow-covered and slippery.
AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski contributed content to this story