Thanksgiving Day Rain, Snow, Cold to Focus on Central US
By Kristina Pydynowski, Senior Meteorologist
November 23, 2015; 5:24 AM ET
A storm complete with soaking rain, snow, cold winds and possibly even ice will focus on the central United States on Thanksgiving Day.
The Thanksgiving Day storm will center at the collision point between warmer air surging across the Eastern U.S. and chilly air gripping the West and plunging southward through the Plains.
The result will be for a large swath of rain and snow to unfold with the potential for a narrow zone of ice separating the two.
Amid the mild air on the storm's eastern fringe, rain is set to pour down on Thanksgiving Day from the southern Plains to the upper Great Lakes. AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve Travis is most concerned for heavy rain in a part of the central and southern Plains.
"There will be heavy rain across most of Oklahoma, eastern Kansas and western Missouri," stated Travis. Oklahoma City and Wichita, Kansas, lie within this zone.
While Travis does not anticipate the risk of flooding being that high, localized issues may arise and downpours will create hazards for those traveling to holiday dinners by reducing visibility and heightening the risk of vehicles hydroplaning at highway speeds.
Otherwise, thunderstorms will rattle parts of Texas and Arkansas and steady rain will fall northward to northern Michigan. The stage is not set for an outbreak of severe weather.
The thunderstorms could prompt the roof of AT&T Stadium to be closed for the NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Carolina Panthers.
Football fans headed to Lambeau Field to watch the Green Bay Packers host the Chicago Bears will want to leave the heavy jackets and gloves home in exchange for rain gear Thursday evening.
On a day when temperatures are typically falling from the 30s to the 20s, Travis stated that weather conditions for the Packers-Bears game "looks to be wet but mild."
The opposite would be true if the game involved the Denver Broncos or Minnesota Vikings and was being played at their home stadiums.
"On the backside of the storm where colder air wraps in, there will be some snow across parts of Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska and back into the central Rockies," continued Travis.
Some of the same communities that were buried by the Friday to Saturday snowstorm could once again see snow return on Thanksgiving Day. A warming trend leading up to Thanksgiving will erase most of the snow on the ground before the next round.
Latest indications point toward the storm not intensifying enough for a major snowstorm or blizzard to unfold with widespread totals approaching or exceeding a foot.
The potential still exists for a nuisance to disruptive snowfall in Duluth, Minnesota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Cheyenne, Wyoming; and Denver.
"It will also be pretty windy across parts of the Plains," added Travis.
These winds will combine with the arctic air plunging southward to hold AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures well below actual temperatures. Single digit RealFeels will definitely have residents of the northern Plains and central High Plains bundling up.
The cold air could rush south fast enough to catch up with the rain area and lead to a period of icy weather in the central Plains.
A greater snow and ice event may threaten the southern Plains heading into this coming weekend as the arctic air plunges farther to the south and tropical moisture enters the equation.
Residents and visitors of the central U.S. are urged to check back with AccuWeather as more precise details on this Thanksgiving Day storm and the following wintry weekend weather for the southern Plains unfold.