Weather for holiday travel prior to Christmas should be good in large parts of the country, but those traveling in the upper midwest, large parts of the Northeast U.S. and a part of the Northwest U.S. may suffer delays in ground and air travel, according to AccuWeather reports.
AccuWeather reports a storm bearing strong winds, heavy snow, torrential rain, thunderstorms and fog will converge on the Northeast and Midwest on Christmas Eve and will likely create major travel delays, both on the roads and at airports.
The early stages of travel problems from patchy rain and fog will develop on Tuesday. The most widespread travel disruptions and the worst weather conditions in terms of windswept rain and travel-impairing snow will be centered on Christmas Eve.
For many people traveling by ground and air, rain will be an inconvenience. However, enough rain can fall at times to cause poor visibility and increase the risk of hydroplaning for those traveling at highway speeds.
Heavy rainfall in the South and Midwest will tend to be spotty, but as the storm moves northward on Christmas Eve, heavy rain will become widespread progressing through the mid-Atlantic and New England.
One of the most common causes of flight delays is strong winds, especially where they blow perpendicular to runways.
Gusty winds blowing from the south and east may lead to flight delays in the mid-Atlantic, New England and eastern Great Lakes region Tuesday night and Wednesday.
The strongest winds are likely in New England Wednesday into Wednesday night, when gusts could reach 60 mph along the coast and over mountains across the interior. Gusts could approach 50 mph around New York City Wednesday into Wednesday evening.
Increasing winds from the west and northwest may cause similar problems throughout the Midwest and mid-Atlantic on Christmas Day. Turbulence during and in the wake of the storm could be a problem on some flights.
The storm system may become strong enough to produce thunderstorms from Florida to Maine.
"The greatest risk of severe thunderstorms is from the eastern part of the Carolinas to Delmarva," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity.
While much of the South, mid-Atlantic and New England will be spared travel problems from snow with this storm, significant travel delays and dangers will develop in the Midwest and perhaps the Appalachians from Christmas Eve through Christmas Day.
The greatest risk of an all-out snowstorm is over northern Michigan and central Ontario. It is during the transition to colder air following rain, when the greatest dangers for travelers may develop farther south.
While not a huge amount of snow is forecast for the Ohio Valley states, the lower Great Lakes and central Appalachians with the storm itself, snow showers or a quick burst of snow could lead to a rapid covering of snow on the highways.
From parts of Illinois, Kentucky and lower Michigan, eastward to western Pennsylvania, western New York and West Virginia, motorists should be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions on Christmas Eve. This could occur during the day over the Midwest and toward evening around the central Appalachians as temperatures fall.