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Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Outlook

It might behoove Floridians to stay closer to home this Thanksgiving holiday. High pressure is in control and near-ideal outdoor conditions are expected for most of the state through the weekend. The only concern will be for beach-goers and boating enthusiasts on the Atlantic Coast, where rough surf and an elevated rip current risk will continue through Friday.

If you or loved ones are traveling elsewhere around the country, here’s a recap of what to expect.


West of the Rockies

A strong winter weather system will move through the Pacific Northwest Wednesday and Thursday. Heavy snow is expected across mountainous areas from Washington to Colorado, while the Southwest will stay rather dry, but it will get windy as the system passes. All areas will clear out Friday and Saturday, but it will turn noticeably cooler over the weekend.


The Midwest and Great Plains

A vigorous area of low pressure will develop in the center part of the country on Thanksgiving Day. This will likely make travel difficult from Texas to Michigan starting Thursday and lasting through Saturday. Unlike last week’s storm, though, most precipitation will fall or at least start as rain. Colder air moving in behind the storm could produce a stripe of snow from Colorado to Iowa and Wisconsin before the system exits. The upper Midwest will dry out by Saturday, but the Ozarks and Southern Plains could see heavy rain continue through the weekend as the cold front stalls.


East Coast and Florida

High pressure is in charge Wednesday and Thursday, creating cool but dry conditions up and down the Eastern seaboard. Scattered coastal showers are possible along Florida’s east coast, but rough seas and rip currents are expected to be the only detriments on an otherwise pleasant Thanksgiving day. The weekend looks similarly beautiful, with highs statewide in the upper 70s and low 80s, and significant rain chances staying away through Sunday. Further north, rain moves into the upper Midwest Friday and into New England by Friday evening, but most areas will clear out by Sunday. Temperatures will return to seasonably cool values across the northern half of the country by late in the weekend.


An assortment of travel maps have been posted below.  We wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Sources include nearest National Weather Service office, National Hurricane Center, and the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (@FloridaStorms).
Sources include nearby emergency management agencies, FEMA, and your local NPR affiliate. 
Sources include the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Highway Patrol and other nearby traffic information.

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Partners of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network include: Florida's Division of Emergency Management, WDNA (Miami), WFIT (Melbourne), WMFE (Orlando), WFSU (Tallahassee), WGCU (Fort Myers), WJCT (Jacksonville), WKGC (Panama City), WLRN (Miami), WMNF (Tampa-Sarasota), WQCS (Fort Pierce), WUFT (Gainesville-Ocala), WUSF (Tampa), WUWF (Pensacola) and Florida Public Media.

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