Heavy rain will fall today from Atlanta to Boston while sleet and snow are forecast farther to the west as the heaviest travel for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday begins.
A fast-moving storm is expected to push north today from the Gulf of Mexico, sending temperatures in the Northeast into the 50s and 60s Fahrenheit (10 to 15 Celsius). That will ensure heavy rain for large Eastern cities including New York, while spreading much colder air to the west of its center, causing snow and ice away from the coast.
“Parts of the Northeast will see the heaviest rain they have seen in many locations since early August,” Rob Carolan, owner of Hometown Forecast Services Inc. in Nashua, New Hampshire, said by telephone.
By Thanksgiving, on Nov. 28, the sun will be out in New York, although high winds may still be sweeping the area, Carolan said. Sustained winds of as much as 30 mph are expected in New York with gusts of 45 later today into tomorrow, according to the National Weather Service.
The winds might make it difficult for crews to handle the giant balloons that are the trademark of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan, Carolan said. A decision on whether to ground balloons or fly them lower will be made in consultation with police on Thanksgiving morning, Holly Thomas, Macy’s vice president for media relations, said in an e-mail.
Cold air gripped the Northeast yesterday as the storm advanced, sending spot wholesale electricity to an 11-week high before dropping today as temperatures rose. Natural gas futures advanced to the highest level in six weeks today on predictions of colder weather.
The path of the storm will probably mean air traffic delays in Atlanta today spreading north to New York and the Northeast tomorrow, according to Carolan.
Temperatures will soar near 60 in New York, Boston and along the East Coast tomorrow, then will plummet after the system moves through, Tom Kines, a meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania, said in a phone interview.
“When the cold air comes in, it’s going to mean business,” Kines said. “Temperatures are probably going to drop below freezing pretty quickly.”
Areas that get a lot of rain may end up with quite a bit of ice, he said.
Almost 430 flights were canceled yesterday at U.S. airports, 320 of them at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, as the system passed through there, according to FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking company. At least 10 people died in the South earlier this week as a result of the storm, the Associated Press said.
Wind advisories and high wind watches stretch from Maine to Delaware, warning of gusts that can topple trees, power lines and make driving difficult, the National Weather Service said. Winter storm warnings and advisories are posted from Maine to South Carolina.
The heaviest snow is possible from southern Quebec through northern New England, western New York and into Pennsylvania, according to the weather service. As much as 12 inches (30 centimeters) may fall in western Pennsylvania and 10 inches in northern New York, including Syracuse.
About 5 inches of snow may fall in Montreal tomorrow, according to a weather warning issued by Environment Canada.
“The heaviest rain in the I-95 corridor is coming tonight into the first part of tomorrow,” Kines said. “The heaviest snow is probably going to occur tonight into the first half of tomorrow as well.”
Kines said the ski resorts of northern New England will probably get enough snow from the storm to make them “happy.”
Temperatures across the eastern U.S. are expected to be seasonal from Dec. 1 to Dec. 5, while another blast of arctic air is forecast to grip the western part of the country from Dec. 6 to 10, according to Matt Rogers, president of the Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.
Readings in the western U.S. and Canada are expected to fall 8 to 15 degrees below normal in that time frame, Rogers said.
MDA Weather Services predicts the colder air may come further east. Temperatures may end up 3 to 5 degrees below normal from Dec. 6 to 10, according to MDA in Gaithersburg, Maryland.