Snow squalls to threaten dangerous travel in Northeast on busiest travel day of the year

Travelers going to and from the Northeast on Wednesday could wind up battling wintry weather.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving has long been denoted as one of the busiest travel days of the year, with people going near and far to reach loved ones for the holiday.

While much of the country will experience dry or quiet travel conditions on Wednesday, the Northeast could be an exception.

The swath of snow will stretch from the Upper Midwest and the Great Lakes on Tuesday night through much of the Northeast on Wednesday.

"The biggest concern for snow squalls will be from southeastern Ontario in Canada, to central and western New York and northern and western Pennsylvania," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Thompson.

WedSquallsMonNew

Communities such as Erie and State College, Pennsylvania, as well as Buffalo, Syracuse and Binghamton, New York, are among the most likely to see squalls of snow. Snow squalls can be explained as the wintertime equivalent of summertime thunderstorms, bringing intense bursts of snowfall to a small area.

Because of this, both road conditions and visibility can change rapidly, impacting drivers on the roads for Wednesday.

"Given that Wednesday is a busy travel day, motorists traveling along I-80, I-90, I-79 and I-86 will want to stay alert for rapidly deteriorating conditions," added Thompson.

In addition to secondary roadways, parts of I-81 and I-87 could all experience a heavier burst of snow.

Normal visibility can suddenly be replaced by wind-whipped snow and white-out conditions as a heavy burst of snow moves in, making it hard to see even a few feet in front of your vehicle.

Additionally, a quick covering of snow can abruptly lead to slippery road conditions.

Sudden braking can cause vehicles to slide, inadvertently creating accidents on the roads. These conditions are often the perfect recipe for multi-vehicle pileups.

Related: See photos from Winter Storm Avery:

18 PHOTOS
Winter Storm Avery hits the U.S.
See Gallery
Winter Storm Avery hits the U.S.
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 15: Snow falls as a women walks accross the plaza at the U.S.Capitol, on November 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. A winter storm advisory has been issued for the D.C. with moderate to heavy snow and sleet that could accumulate 1 to 2 inches. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 15: Snow falls on the plaza at the U.S.Capitol, on November 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. A winter storm advisory has been issued for the D.C. with moderate to heavy snow and sleet that could accumulate 1 to 2 inches. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 15: A women walks across the Capitol plaza as snow falls, on November 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. A winter storm advisory has been issued for the D.C. with moderate to heavy snow and sleet that could accumulate 1 to 2 inches. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 15: A U.S. Capitol Police Officer patrols the Capitol plaza as snow falls on November 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. A winter storm advisory has been issued for the D.C. with moderate to heavy snow and sleet that could accumulate 1 to 2 inches. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
A tour bus is towed away Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, after it overturned on an icy highway in northern Mississippi. DeSoto County sheriff's deputy Alex Coker said the tour bus carrying about 50 people overturned just after midday Wednesday south of Memphis, Tennessee. The crash came as a winter storm has been raking parts of the South. The county coroner, Josh Pounders, says two people are confirmed dead in the crash where Interstate 269 meets with Interstate 22. He says that the injured have been taken to area hospitals, some in critical condition. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz)
Richard Reichel shovels snow in front of his home on West Sixth Street in Erie, Pa., on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. A lake effect storm dumped 6.6 inches of snow on the city of Erie with additional accumulation expected throughout the day. (Jack Hanrahan/Erie Times-News via AP)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 15: White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley takes careful steps while returning to the West Wing as snow and sleet from Winter Storm Avery covers the ground at the White House November 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. After moving through the Midwest, the storm is dropping a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain, forcing schools to close or delay opening in the Washington, DC, area. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
A person walks across Independence Mall during a snow storm in Philadelphia, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A flamingo lawn ornament is covered with slushy snow after an overnight storm in East Derry, N.H., Friday, Nov. 16, 2018. Southern New Hampshire received about five inches of snow before turning to rain later in the day. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Richard Burst clears snow from his driveway Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018 in St. Louis. "All I really need to accomplish are two lanes for my car," he said. Much of the region had at least 4 inches of snow and forecasters expect about 1 inch or 2 inches more will fall by the time it tapers off around noon Thursday. (Robert Cohen /St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
A pedestrian makes her way through wintry weather in Mt. Holly, N.J., Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018. A mix of rain, sleet and snow started falling late Thursday morning in southern areas and was expected to soon move across the state. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Snow falls on trailers during a storm, Thursday night, Nov. 15, 2018, in Lawrence, Mass. Trailers have been set up to shelter people displaced from their homes due to gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley two months ago. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
People walk on Independence Mall during a snow storm in Philadelphia, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A person walks in view of Independence Hall as snow falls in Philadelphia, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A delivery man makes his way through wintry weather in Mt. Holly, N.J., Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018. New Jerseyans are dealing with their first taste of wintry weather this season. A mix of rain, sleet and snow started falling late Thursday morning in southern areas and was expected to soon move across the state. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A young buck forages for food during a snow storm, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Marple Township, Pa. Pennsylvanians are dealing with their first taste of wintry weather this season. A mix of rain, sleet and snow had started falling across some areas of the state by late Thursday morning. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Visitors stand in a wet snowfall at the 9/11 Memorial, Thursday Nov. 15, 2018, in New York. One of the first big storms of the season moved across the eastern half of the country Thursday, causing deadly traffic crashes and closing schools as it dropped snow as far south as central Alabama. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Traffic was backed up due to the snow on Rt. 61 in Pottsville, Pa., on Thursday afternoon, Nov. 15, 2018. The wintry weather was barreling eastward Thursday, with snow and ice expected from Ohio and the Appalachian Mountains through Washington, D.C., New York and New England. (Jacqueline Dormer/Republican-Herald via AP)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Drivers should remain alert in areas where snow squalls are likely. Safe driving practices include reducing speed ahead of a heavier squall and leaving plenty of space between your car and the vehicle in front of you.

By the end of the day on Wednesday, it will be possible for some of these snow showers to reach parts of the Interstate 95 corridor, especially in New England. Snow will likely be less widespread by this time; however, just a quick localized burst of snow can lead to accidents and delays very quickly.

At the same time, periods of snow will occur across northern New England, creating difficult travel conditions across northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, western Massachusetts and Maine.

Conditions in these areas are less likely to change abruptly. However, wintry weather can still create difficult travel.

Those traveling to or from airports across the Northeast could also experience delays due to reduced visibility. Any long-endurance delays could create cascading delays at other major hubs across the country, even those areas that are not anticipating adverse weather on Wednesday.

WedUSOutlook

To stay up to date on when snow will be arriving in your area, be sure to check AccuWeather MinuteCast® for your exact location. Downloading the free AccuWeather app will allow you to check MinuteCast® on the go.

This wave of snow will not only bring tricky travel conditions, but it will also open the door for arctic air to enter the Northeast just in time for Thanksgiving.

Temperatures will plummet Wednesday night across the Northeast, setting up the coldest Thanksgiving in years for many in the Northeast.

The sudden drop in temperature will refreeze any melted snow or wet areas, creating slick conditions on untreated surfaces.

The deep freeze will be noticeable even in places where less snow is expected. This includes New York City, where the biting wind in combination for the cold could make for frigid conditions at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The cold air will linger into Thursday night and early Friday, bringing dangerously cold conditions for those out shopping for Black Friday.

 

Read Full Story