Snow, thunderstorms threaten weekend travel delays
By Brian Edwards, AccuWeather Meteorologist
This weekend will be one of the busiest travel weekends across the country as millions people head home from Christmas vacations and family gatherings.
Multiple storm systems across the country will produce snow, downpours, thunderstorms, rain and fog spanning over the Pacific Northwest and the Southeast.
Meanwhile, dry conditions with a good deal of sunshine will lead to fair to good travel weather across the Northeast, the Plains, the Southwest and much of Florida.
Weekend travel weather will be quite difficult across parts of the Pacific Northwest as a storm system drops into the region from the north.
This storm will usher in a very cold air mass as well, leading to falling snow levels Saturday and Saturday night with rapidly increasing travel problems.
Rain will fall along coastal Washington and Oregon Saturday and Saturday night leading to wet and slippery roadways along Interstate 5. Areas of fog will lead to reduced visibilities while roads are packed with vehicles.
Snow levels will rapidly drop across the Cascades, falling to around 1,000 feet by Saturday night. There may even be a few snowflakes across metro Seattle Saturday night, but no accumulation is expected.
Several inches of snow will fall, leading significant travel delays across Interstate 90 through the Washington Cascades and Interstate 15 through western Montana.
Check AccuWeather MinuteCast® for your location before heading out on the roads. It will show you the start and stop times of precipitation over the next two hours, and it will show you when rain will change to snow in the lower elevations.
For people traveling by ground or air across the Southeast portion of the country, rain and thunderstorms will be the inconvenience this weekend.
Enough rain will fall to lead to localized flash flooding problems. With the roads already jammed with vehicles, excess water will reduce the braking action and increase the distance required between vehicles in an emergency situation.
In addition, locally gusty thunderstorms will rumble across a zone from Louisiana through Alabama and northern Georgia. These thunderstorms can lead to significant travel delays if traveling by air.
Localized flooding and slick conditions will affect interstates 10, 55, 69 and 75 just to name a few across the Southeast. If traveling by car, allow for plenty of extra time to get to your destination and watch for any local flooding problems.
Check the start and stop times of rain, including when the most intense rain will arrive, using AccuWeather MinuteCast® for your location.
By far, the best travel weather this weekend will be across Florida where 80-degree temperatures and sunshine will be the rule. It will also be dry and sunny across much of California and the Desert Southwest with cool temperatures across much of the area.
More significant chill will affect a large portion of the United States early next week with the main thrust of the chill coming through the Four Corners and Southwest. In fact, Las Vegas will fall below freezing for the first time since December 2013!