Thanksgiving means turkey with all the fixings and spending time with family and friends. But it also means travel headaches for the estimated 55.4 million people expected to be venturing out this week to get to where they need to be — either by road, air, or rail — during what is typically the most hectic travel time of the year.
The “fairly potent” storm that moved from the Great Lakes into New England Tuesday night will cause added delays for travelers Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Norton. The storm is expected to pack heavy rain at times for interior sections as well as strong winds — up to 60 miles per hour on Cape Cod and the islands — and some snow for the Berkshires and other higher elevations.
“Folks who are traveling may want to allow some extra time,” said Bill Leatham, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norton. “The frontal system will bring steady rainfall through the night and through a pretty good part of Wednesday.”
[Windy Wednesday] With the threat for snow over, our attention turns to gusty winds that will impact coastal MA and RI thru this afternoon. Gusts in excess of 40mph can be expected in areas under a Wind Advisory, with gusts to 55mph possible on Nantucket. pic.twitter.com/gcYcbdUG4Q— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) November 22, 2023
A winter weather advisory has been issued for northwest Massachusetts along with parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine due to the potential for hazardous road conditions.
But elsewhere, total rainfall will hold to about an inch or so in the Boston metro area and the rest of Southern New England, before tapering off by late Wednesday evening, according to the weather service. Cape Cod and the islands may see lingering showers into Thanksgiving. Weather service meteorologists don’t expect “any flooding concerns” with this storm.
The good news is that warmer air will move in with the frontal system, pushing temperatures into the 50s, a normal range for November, although wind gusts of 30 to 40 miles per hour for interior sections — and up to 60 miles per hour along the coast — will make it “feel 5 to 10 degrees cooler,” Leatham said. A wind advisory has been issued for the North Shore, Cape and the islands until 4 p.m. Wednesday.
The next round of rain won’t reach the region until Saturday, he said.
Thanksgiving should be sunny but brisk and a little breezy at times in southern New England, with temperatures in the 30s at kickoff time for area high school football games and for the dozen or so annual Turkey Trots, according to the weather service. The high will reach into the upper 40s.
Here’s the weather breakdown for the holiday week:
MA, CT, RI: Widespread rain with wind gusts of 30 to 50 miles per hour . High 53, low 38.
VT: Rain and freezing rain, possibly mixed with snow before 10 a.m., then rain ending by afternoon. High 36, low 22.
NH: Rain and snow before changing over to all rain in the morning; less than half an inch accumulation. Wind gusts of 20 miles per hour. Chance of rain before 7 p.m. High 46, low 34.
Maine: Rain and snow; 1 to 3 inches accumulation. High 38, low 33.
MA, CT, RI: Sunny. High 47, low 32.
VT: Sunny to partly cloudy. High 33, low 22.
NH: Mostly sunny. High 44, low 28.
Maine: Partly sunny. High 41, low 26.
In all, AAA estimates that 55.4 million folks will be traveling about 50 miles or more from home during the five-day span from Wednesday to Sunday — the third-highest volume, behind 2005 and 2019, since the service began tracking holiday travel.
The Transportation Security Administration anticipates screening thousands of more passengers at airports across the country, with the busiest days being Tuesday, Wednesday, and the Sunday after Thanksgiving. TSA officials said the volume started picking up at Logan International Airport last Friday when nearly 68,000 travelers were screened. They expect that number to surpass 70,000 during each of the week’s heaviest travel days.