Christmas Travel Weather Forecast: Systems in West and South Could Cause Delays

At a Glance
  • Travelers this weekend could encounter wet roads in the South and West.
  • Most areas from the interior West into the Midwest and Northeast should be dry.
  • Weather conditions early next week into Christmas Day could also be good for many travelers in the central and eastern U.S.
  • Unsettled weather might persist in parts of the West next week.

Delays for pre-Christmas travel could happen in the West and South, but many other parts of the country should be dry and mild.

More than 115 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more from their homes for the holiday period spanning Dec. 21 through Jan. 1, according to AAA. That’s the highest travel volume for the end-of-year holiday season since AAA began tracking in 2000.

Friday

Possible Trouble Spots

1. Hit-or-miss showers are possible in central and southern Texas and along Florida’s Atlantic coast.

2. Heavy rain and mountain snow could slow down travel in the Pacific Northwest, mainly in northwest Oregon and western Washington.

Likely No Delays

Most areas from the Southwest into the Plains, Midwest and the East should have good travel weather as high pressure dominates.

Saturday

Possible Trouble Spots

1. Rain and mountain snow will continue to impact travel in the Pacific Northwest, spreading into Northern California.

2. Rain from a developing storm system will begin to soak the Deep South. This rain could be heavy in spots, especially from New Orleans to Tallahassee.

Likely No Delays

Much of the interior West, Plains, Midwest and Northeast should have good weather for traveling.

Sunday

Possible Trouble Spots

1. Rain and mountain snow will linger along the West Coast, but the bulk of the wet weather should shift south to California. This rain could extend as far south as Southern California.

2. Rain and brisk winds will spread across much of the Southeast from the Tennessee Valley to Florida. This rain could be heavy at times. Significant flight delays are possible at major Southeast air hubs.

Likely No Delays

Areas from the interior West to the Plains, Midwest and Northeast will once again enjoy good travel conditions.

Monday

Possible Trouble Spots

1. Rain could slow down travel in parts of the Southeast as a low-pressure system begins to slowly move away from the region. Winds will remain gusty, as well. Some coastal and inland flooding may be possible.

2. There could also be some areas of rain and mountain snow in California, but this precipitation doesn’t appear to be heavy at this time.

Likely No Delays

Most areas from the Rockies to the Plains, Midwest and Northeast should enjoy good conditions for traveling.

Christmas Eve (Tuesday)

Possible Trouble Spots

1. Areas of rain and mountain snow should shift into the Rockies and Southwest.

Likely No Delays

Much of the central and eastern U.S. should have no major travel concerns. We expect the slow-moving Southeast rain and wind storm to have finally moved offshore by Christmas Eve.

Christmas Day (Wednesday)

Possible Trouble Spots

1. A southward plunge of the jet stream in the West will continue to produce scattered areas of rain and mountain snow from California to the Rockies. Most of this precipitation should be light, with the possible exception of some more soaking rain and mountain snow possible in parts of California.

2. An area of light snow, cold rain, or mixed precipitation may develop from the Northern Plains to the Great Lakes.

Likely No Delays

Initial indications are that Christmas Day should be free of major travel headaches in a majority of the country, including the South and East.

Thursday , Dec. 26

Possible Trouble Spots

1. Rain, possibly heavy, is expected in Southern California with some snow possible in the San Gabriel mountains that may lead to some tricky travel in the high country.

2. More rain and mountain snow is possible in the Pacific Northwest. Snow levels could be relatively low, so travel over the passes could be affected.

3. Some areas of light snow are possible in parts of the upper Midwest and Great Lakes.

Likely No Delays

For now, much of the rest of the nation from the mid-Atlantic and Southeast to the Plains appears to have quiet weather in store for the day after Christmas.

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