Could snow, cold temperatures affect Thanksgiving travel plans for the DC area?

Thanksgiving is typically the busiest travel holiday of the year. While that alone can be troublesome, will Mother Nature add to any of those travel headaches in the week ahead? 

If you are getting an early start on Monday, there really should not be all that much to slow you down. Travel up and down the Eastern Seaboard should be without any major weather hiccups. If you happen to be flying south, towards Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas you may run into some flight issues with rainfall expected, though this should not be anything too extreme. If flying farther west towards Denver, which is one of the busiest airports in the country, there could be some issues with gusty winds along the front range of the Rockies. 

By Tuesday, this system will strengthen and push towards the Eastern Seaboard. 

While this could bring much-needed rain to many dry areas, especially in the Mid-Atlantic (D.C. has failed to see an inch of rain since September), it could also cause some travel headaches for those getting a jump on Wednesday travel. Rain could be heavy, which could slow down travel both on the road and in the air on Tuesday afternoon and evening. 

Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, enough cold air could still be present in the interior northeast that those traveling towards Upstate New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, or inland Maine may have to monitor for the risk of the first significant snow event of the year, just in time for the pre-Thanksgiving rush.  

Thankfully, this snow is expected to mostly be confined to the interior northeast regions, and at its worst in the highlands and elevated mountain areas of the Northeast. The I-95 corridor should stay snow-free, though rain could slow travel into the morning hours of Wednesday. 

By Wednesday afternoon, the storm system is set to pull out to our north. In fact, coast to coast, Wednesday may actually be the quietest day for travel. 

Still, some issues could exist around the Great Lakes region where winds could be gusty. Cities like Chicago and Detroit may need to watch for wind-related travel issues. The winds could also lead to lake-effect snowfall in cities like Erie and Buffalo, which could cause some localized snow issues. But most areas will be pretty quiet weather-wise by Wednesday for snow.  

Is there a chance for snow on Thanksgiving? 

The good news with Thanksgiving itself, it does look dry, and will likely be pretty sunny as well. The bad news is that it does look like it will be quite chilly. Like "coldest air of the season so far" chilly. A strong trough across the eastern half of the country will work in tandem with an upper-level ridge over Alaska to displace some very cold air into our region. The latest suggestions say we could stay pretty chilly right through the extended holiday weekend as well.  

As we are forecasting highs in the 40s, that would make it the coldest Thanksgiving Day since 2018! Many of the more recent Thanksgiving Days have been on the mild side. Here is DC’s high temperature on Thanksgiving over the last decade! 

2022 - 61° 
2021 - 59°
2020 - 67° 
2019 - 54° 
2018 - 42° 
2017 - 47° 
2016 - 57° 
2015 - 64° 
2014 - 49° 
2013 - 40° 


Thanksgiving travel faces challenges from budding cross-country storm

A storm that began off the West Coast and is expected to produce wet weather along its cross-country journey over the next several days with a severe weather risk.