All Weather News

Christmas Week Forecast: Travel Headaches Ahead?



After a strong coastal storm disrupted Thanksgiving travel along the East Coast, one the busiest travel times of the year, many are wondering if there will be a repeat this week.

Here’s the short answer: As we move into the heart of ‘the most wonderful time of the year,’ the models are hinting that a storm might make your travel plans not-so-wonderful — at least in some parts of the country.

With millions of people traveling by road and by air, this could spell some pretty significant delays on the trek to grandmother’s house.

Here’s what we know:

Tuesday, Dec. 23


A cold front, stretching from the Great Lakes into the Big Bend region of Texas — will bring periods of light-to-moderate rain from Lubbock to Detroit, Mich starting in the morning. In the cold sector of the storm, this could mean periods of snow for places like Minneapolis, Omaha and Madison, Wisc.

As the day progresses rain will begin to fill in across parts of the Deep South as well. Some severe weather is also a possibility along the Gulf Coast. A slight risk of severe weather — including the chance for a few isolated tornadoes — is possible from Lake Charles to Birmingham to Tallahassee.

The main mode of severe weather will be hail and high winds, but environmental conditions in the late afternoon will be more supportive of supercellular activity. This bears watching and you should be weather-aware throughout the day.

Moving into the later afternoon and evening hours, moderate-to-heavy rain will be pushing into parts of southern Mississippi, central Alabama and parts of northern Georgia. Some light to moderate snow is also possible from central Kansas to northern Wisconsin.

Rain will also be moving into parts of the Northeast as well, as the evening progresses.

Wednesday, Dec. 24


The early morning hours will give way to rain, which could be heavy at times, from the Florida Panhandle to southern sections of the Northeast. Major airline hubs like Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and New York (all three airports), could feel the impact of low cloud ceilings and rainfall.

A bit further to the west, cold air filtering in behind the front, will aid in the transition from rain to snow for places like Chicago, St. Louis and even into parts of northeastern Arkansas.

The upper-level low will race north — across the Great Lakes — ushering in much colder air and bringing rain for most of the East Coast. Some heavy lake-effect snow could fall in parts of Michigan.

In the Pacific Northwest, a system coming onshore is likely to bring plenty of rain to Washington and Oregon’s lower elevations and the potential for heavier snow for the higher elevations.

Thursday, Dec. 25


Christmas morning, the cold front will begin to push through the eastern half of the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast — potentially facilitating a brief changeover to snow in places like D.C., Philly and New York. But the precipitation will quickly taper off in the afternoon hours.

Out west, a storm in the Pacific Northwest will push across the Intermountain West, bringing snow to parts of Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Colorado and even into the Dakotas. This doesn’t look like a breakout evening, but it could make some of the roads in the high country very difficult to navigate.

Meteorologist Alan Raymond

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