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Thanksgiving weather: Nasty in Northwest; Macy's parade in clear

November 19, 2012|By Michael Muskal
  • Cars and trucks navigate through standing water Monday at an intersection in Tacoma, Wash.
Cars and trucks navigate through standing water Monday at an intersection… (Ted S. Warren / Associated…)

About 43 million Americans are preparing to go over the river and through the woods (in automobiles and airplanes) this Thanksgiving holiday, and with the exception of the Northwest, most will have good weather during the busy travel period.

For those living in the Seattle area, the forecast calls for rain through the end of the holiday on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. As much as five inches could fall in the next few days and more than two inches are forecast in western Washington.

Flash flooding is possible, the service said, but major flooding is not expected. Rains already have pushed the Skokomish River in Mason County to flood stage and there's a warning for minor flooding on the Chehalis River in southwest Washington. Some flooding is also possible in the far northern sliver of California.

Forecasters expect nine to 30 inches of snow in the Olympics and Cascades mountain ranges, mostly above 4,000 feet. Good for winter weather enthusiasts perhaps, but a possible problem for motorists moving through the passes in the Cascades mountain range.

While inclement, the weather for the Northwest is in keeping with the usual precipitation in the late autumn. Across the nation, there is expected to be a line of storms stretching like a scimitar from Wisconsin through the Midwest across a band of Texas to the border with Mexico. There are expected to be high winds across the roof of the continental United States, in those areas along the Canadian border in the West.

The eastern half of the United States, hit heavily by Hurricane Sandy and related storms, will likely have clear skies. In New York the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade should have ideal conditions for the balloons’ trek down Central Park West to the department store at Herald Square.

According to AAA, about 43.6 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home between Wednesday and Sunday as part of the holiday. This represents a 0.7% increase from 43.3 million people who traveled last year. About 90% of all travelers will go by automobile.

“Although leisure travel is forecast to make just modest gains from last year, it's still a positive sign to see growth for the fourth year in a row,” Brent Hubele, vice president, AAA Travel, the Auto Club Group, said in a prepared statement.

AAA forecast that 3.1 million travelers will fly to their destination, a decrease of 1.7% from the 3.2 million travelers who flew last year.

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