Huge Storm Could Cause Thanksgiving Travel Chaos

Thanksgiving air travelers are likely to be in for a bumpy ride over the next two days with three large storms hitting swathes of the US from east to west.

Lufthansa jet in snow storm
Storms are set to batter the United States on the approach to Thanksgiving. Photo:
Daniel Schwen via Wikimedia

Writes the Mail Online, snow and high winds are likely to bring air travel chaos to many parts of the United States in the run-up to Thanksgiving.

Three winter storms have been forecast for the next two days at least, and are expected to dump ice, snow and rain. States affected by the first wave of weather include Minnesota, Colorado and Iowa. Tomorrow – the day before Thanksgiving – New Mexico and southern California may also be affected.

The weather draws in as millions of Americans ready themselves to head home for Thanksgiving. The size and nature of the storms, which are predicted to follow a track running 2,800 miles from east to west, are certain to take their toll on commuters and travelers.

To make matters worse, Thanksgiving travel this year is expected to be the second busiest since 2000. More than 55 million people are expected to travel more than 50 miles or more away from home for Thanksgiving, according to TIME.

We have contacted American Airlines for comment.

The weather track

California, Nevada and parts of Arizona are expected to be hit by strong winds and rain between now and the weekend. The Sierra Nevada and northern Arizona may even see several feet of snow. San Francisco and northern California, as well as mountain ranges, may see plummetting temperatures and snowfall.

Southwest jet de-iced
Snow and ice will make air travel difficult. Photo: Southwest

On the east coast, parts of New England have already seen several inches of snow. New Hampshire and Maine may even be dealt several feet of snow from the north.

The Midwest is not expected to be hit as hard, but rain and thunderstorms are predicted to reach Louisiana and the Ohio Valley in the middle of the week. The upper Midwest and Great Lakes will see heavy snow. States worst affected are Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

How the storms will affect air travel

Travelers by air must expect delays. Strong winds and blizzard conditions over the Plains are expected to ground some flights and lead to the delays of others.

Jet de-iced
Air travelers should expect delays and cancellations. Photo: US Air Force via Flickr

Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have issued a weather waiver for flights in and out of Denver. Doing so will allow passengers to alter their flights without paying an additional fee. Delta has issued its waiver for today; United has issued its waiver up to and including November 29th.

Southwest offers a travel advisory for travelers through Denver and Minneapolis.

Wednesday is expected to be the worst day to travel. Thanksgiving day will see a break in the weather and easier traveling on the ground and in the air. The storms are then expected to prevail until the weekend.

Brent Hewett, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen advises, “Continue to watch the forecast and be prepared for changing travel itineraries, whether you’re driving or flying.”