The Busiest Travel Day Of The Year Will Likely Be A Chaotic Mess

Illustration for article titled The Busiest Travel Day Of The Year Will Likely Be A Chaotic Mess

We live in a world where advanced computer modeling allows us to understand, with unprecedented warning, just how awful the weather is going to make our lives. If you're traveling for Thanksgiving this year, meteorologists say get prepared for a total shit show.


The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the day, historically, when more of us get into cars, trains, and planes than any other time of the year. If you're in a train you might be ok, but if you're driving or flying you can expect to contend with delays, closures, cancellations, and all sorts of drama.

Perhaps because the media started calling any minor Nor'easter a ___ocaplypse or ___mageddon, The Weather Channel has started giving winter storms terrible names. This storm is 'Boreas,' which I think is a Greek word for "meteorologist boners."


And, oh boy, do they have a huge boreai for this bad boy. While unlikely, per the model guidance, to dump massive amounts of snow on most of the coastal U.S., it looks like many major airports in the eastern half of the U.S. will experience some mix of heavy rain, sleet, and wind.

The bleakest view comes from the smart Eric Holthaus over at Quartz:

Virtually the entire US will be affected by this storm: whether directly by rain, wind, snow, or ice, or indirectly via cascading travel delays. The storm's incredibly poor timing will enhance the impacts of an otherwise only slightly worse than average early winter atmospheric medley. The AAA predicts 43.4 million Americans will venture farther than 50 miles over the coming holiday weekend, the vast majority of them by car.

Low clouds and high winds will force many hub airports to reduce takeoff and landing frequency during the storm's peak on the day before Thanksgiving, so expect delayed and cancelled flights. And heavy rains will mean slow going on already congested highways along the east coast.

Here's WxUnderground's Jeff Masters:

A powerful and very wet winter storm will slog across the Southeast U.S. Monday and Tuesday and up the Mid-Atlantic coast on Wednesday. The models have come into fair agreement that the storm, dubbed "Boreas", will be a heavy rain event for coastal New England and the Mid-Atlantic, with snow falling inland at higher elevations. The greatest snows of 6+ inches will likely fall on Tuesday through Wednesday in Southwest New York and Northwest Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh and Buffalo are under Winter Storm Watches, and could see 3 - 5" of snow, snarling travel on the busiest travel day of the year.


If there's any good news here it's that the system should move off the coast rather quickly. The bad news is that the forecast is for it to be freaking freezing out there on Black Friday. Have fun!

Illustration for article titled The Busiest Travel Day Of The Year Will Likely Be A Chaotic Mess

Photo Credit: NOAA.

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"Virtually the entire US will be affected by this storm"

Well... if you don't count the Midwest, the Great Lakes region, the Rocky Mountains, the Southwest, or the West coast, then yes. Virtually the entire US.