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Thanksgiving weather watch: 3 areas where travel might get messy, says data

Thanksgiving weather watch: 3 areas where travel might get messy, says data
[Photo: Nicolas Jehly/Unsplash]

No matter where you look, people will be on the move this weekend.

According to AAA, some 54.3 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles as part of a Thanksgiving trip this year, while a record 30.6 million will fly on a U.S. airline, per CNN. However you break those numbers down, they add up to a lot of people clogging up the roads and skies, trying to get to their destinations in one piece.

Will the weather cooperate? The good news is that it mostly will, meaning the vast majority of travelers this weekend won’t have to contend with the additional burden of terrible weather on top of an already-stressful trip. However, there will be a few trouble spots across the country, according to new data from AccuWeather. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Northeast: If you’re traveling in the Northeast, bundle up! The National Weather Service is predicting record cold temperatures, with some areas at 25 to 30 degrees below normal. If you’ve seen all those funny “Cold Turkey” headlines, you probably already knew this. AccuWeather also predicts batches of snow for the area and says drivers should brace for possibly slick portions of interstates 75, 81, 87, 90, 91 and 95.
  • Southeastern Texas: Travelers in this area faced reduced viability and wet roadways earlier in the week, according to AccuWeather. The good news is, conditions are improving and expect to be fair today.
  • West Coast: A storm is expected to hit the West Coast midweek. For travelers, that might not be the best news, but rain is exactly what the area needs after weeks of devastating wildfires near Los Angeles and San Francisco. According to AccuWeather, reduced visability from the smoke remains the biggest concern for drivers in the region. It also says heavy snow is expected over the Sierra Nevada, which could impact drivers traveling over parts of I-80. Finally, travelers in Seattle and Portland can expect mild travel disruptions due to rain. More info here.

If you’re looking for real-time traffic and travel information for the Thanksgiving weekend, I’ve rounded up a few good resources below. Good luck!

  • Google: As my colleague Jesus Diaz wrote, a data-driven project from Google Maps, Google News Labs, and Polygraph offers a suite of trip-planning tools that can serve as a travel “cheat sheet” of sorts. Find it here.
  • CNN is providing real-time updates for Thanksgiving travelers. Find it here.
  • FlightStats is an open-source project that offers real-time updates from airports, the FAA, and other useful sources. Find it here.
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