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National Weather at 920pm on November 23 2004


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Thanksgiving travel nightmares

9:24 P.M. ET 11/23/2004


Tom Moore, Senior Meteorologist, The Weather Channel





Look for major travel headaches over parts of the Midwest on Wednesday as a storm system moves up from the southern Plains to the Ohio Valley. Rain will be widespread across much of the region and severe thunderstorms are likely from the Tennessee Valley to north of the Ohio Valley. On the western side of the storm, rain will turn to wet snow. Fortunately, surface temperatures have been above freezing recently, so accumulations will be spotty in many locations. Still, a swath of 3- to 6-inches of wind-driven wet snow could evolve over central Missouri, north-central Illinois, northern Indiana and southern Michigan. Rain may change to snow in Kansas City and Chicago but amounts should be light, but flight delays are likely. Elsewhere, travel across the Plains and through the Upper Midwest should be fine. Overall, highs are expected to range from the 20s in the northern reaches of North Dakota and Minnesota to the upper 50s and low 60s in the Ohio Valley.



Rain and thunderstorms will hamper travel throughout the Deep South on Wednesday as a cold front pushes eastward through the region. Several inches of rain are likely to plague portions of the Southeast. In addition to the downpours, severe thunderstorms seem likely in areas from the Tennessee Valley to the Gulf Coast as a squall line moves through. Look for hail, damaging winds and a possible tornado. The Florida Peninsula will be the only area of the entire eastern part of the nation likely to remain dry. Farther west, much of Texas should remain rain-free for a change. Parts of northern Oklahoma, may see a little wet snow to start the day. High temperatures, meanwhile, are expected to range from the 40s in the Texas Panhandle and northern Oklahoma to the 80s on the Florida Peninsula.



A complex storm extending from the Ohio Valley to western New York by late Wednesday will at least slow down holiday travel in the Northeast. A low pressure area will spread rain and showers over the region from west to east during the day. Significant rain may not arrive from Boston to Philadelphia until afternoon. Highs are forecast to range from the 40s in Upstate New York and northern New England to the 60s south of Philadelphia and Atlantic City. Look for snow showers downwind of the Great Lakes by Thursday afternoon.



An onshore flow in advance of an approaching Pacific cold front will deliver rain and mountain snow to Washington, northern Oregon, much of Idaho and the northern Rockies on Wednesday. The heaviest rainfall is likely in northwest Washington, but even there no excessive amounts are anticipated. Meanwhile, snow levels in the Cascades are expected to be rather high, so holiday travel over the passes Washington should not be a problem. Farther east, however, snow could slow your travels across some of the higher roads of the Bitterroots and ranges in western Montana. Elsewhere in the West, pleasant weather with temperatures near to only slightly below seasonal averages are expected.

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