November 27, 2023
As post-Thanksgiving travelers embark on their journeys, a winter storm spanning from the Texas Panhandle to the Great Lakes and East Coast is putting 14 million Americans under winter weather alerts. Much of the nation is experiencing colder-than-normal temperatures, ushering in a sensation often overlooked amid concerns of alarming climate change: cold.
Federal forecasters predict below-normal temperatures extending from New Mexico to Kansas and from Oklahoma to the Upper Midwest. The seasonal west-to-east upper-level low-pressure system is set to bring rain and, in some areas, up to half a foot of snow. The forecasters anticipate temperatures dipping 5 to 30 degrees below normal.
This winter front arrives at a crucial time for big cities in the Midwest and East Coast, coinciding with the post-pandemic air travel boom. Sunday is expected to witness a single-day U.S. record of 2.9 million people flying home following Thanksgiving celebrations. Scott Keyes, founder of going.com, a platform for alerting travelers to discounted flights, anticipates that Sunday’s weather will present “perhaps the biggest test in air travel history” for U.S. carriers.
The contrast is stark for those who experienced heat just last month, marking the fifth consecutive month of record-high global temperatures measured above a preindustrial average. The effects of this holiday weekend weather include traditional November elements such as lake-effect snow in the Great Lakes region and rain along the mid-Atlantic coast, according to federal forecasters.
On Saturday, the winter storm provided parts of the West with a taste of winter, including a freeze warning in effect for the Las Vegas Valley and snow spotted on a Santa Fe, New Mexico, freeway. Wichita, Kansas, is expected to receive 4 inches of snow, with “minor accumulations” in Kansas City, Missouri, into Saturday evening, as reported by the National Weather Service.
Other parts of the state may see up to 8 inches of snow and bitter winds reaching 40 mph. Cold air from the north is anticipated to fill the atmosphere behind the system, further lowering temperatures and contributing to snowfall in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York state, according to the weather service. The system is projected to reach the Northeast by Tuesday.
Despite its journey along the East Coast, from the northern reaches of Florida into New England, the system could lose some of its cold characteristics when compared to its presence over the Great Lakes. The National Weather Service notes, “Temperatures are expected to be warm enough to keep the precipitation as rain,” in a nationwide forecast discussion.