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November 23, 2010 / Dave Gorham

Thanksgiving Weekend Forecast – Breezy and Chilly for Most

Courtesy of Lauren, here’s a look at the weather this weekend:

Strong winds (yellow) and heavy snow (white) across the Northern Rockies today will lead to blizzard conditions. Cold arctic air mass (blue) also remains in place across parts of the Northwest and Northern Plains.

“A strong winter storm system will move into the Rockies today bringing strong winds and heavy snow which will lead to blizzard conditions in the region. Portions of Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada and Montana could pick up 2-6 inches with isolated heavier amounts into the higher elevations. Behind this strong cold front, sustained winds are expected to be between 20 and 40 mph with gusts between 50 and 60 mph. A very cold arctic air mass will also remain in place over the Northwest today with the coldest air over Montana. Temperatures will be 20-35 degrees below average with temperatures across Montana remaining in the single digits to below 0°F.

A mixture of light snow and freezing rain (purple) is expected across the Upper Midwest on the busiest travel day of the year (tomorrow).

“On the busiest travel day of the year (the day before Thanksgiving), this strong cold front will push towards the Plains and Midwest. Across the Upper Midwest, a mixture of light snow and freezing rain can be expected during the morning and afternoon hours with light ice accumulations possible. Elsewhere, isolated severe storms will be possible in advance of this front, including Kansas City, Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Damaging wind gusts and hail will be the main concern with heavy rainfall also possible across some areas. In advance of the front, do expect breezy southern winds with winds shifting to the northwest behind the front with sustained winds between 15-30 mph with gusts 35-40 mph.The cold arctic airmass across the Northwest will spill southward tomorrow across parts of Nevada, Utah and Colorada where temperatures will be between 20-35 degrees below average.

Breezy northwesterly winds are expected across the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest Thanksgiving Day. Once the front moves through Texas, winds will shift to the northwest.

“On Thanksgiving Day, this strong low pressure system will move into southern Canada with the cold front extending across the eastern Great Lakes down across the Ohio/Tennessee Valley and stretching back through the Southern Plains. Look for breezy northwestern winds across the Upper Midwest between 15-25 mph with gusts to 30 mph and along the lower to mid Texas coastline once the front moves through during the afternoon/evening hours. Showers and thunderstorms will remain possible along and in advance of this frontal system but no widespread severe weather is expected at this time.

“By Friday, this front will move off the East Coast with breezy northwesterly winds expected to continue along the Gulf coast from Mobile, AL to Brownsville, TX.”

In other words, somewhat of a bumpy few days for many traveling but nothing like the Great Thanksgiving Storm of 1950.  Ohioans that weekend experienced sustained winds of 40mph and 10-30+ inches of snow which generated drifts in excess of 20 feet.  And according to the Farmer’s Almanac, a tragic storm occurred over Thanksgiving 112 years ago.  In other words, it could be worse.

Photo: bucknuts.com

So, keep your eyes on the road, arrive safely and enjoy your blessings. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at ImpactWeather!

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