Busy Travel Period Anticipated
A severe storm system moving along the eastern seaboard of the United States is expected to cause significant disruptions during the busiest travel period of the year. More than 55 million people are expected to travel before the Thanksgiving holiday, according to the U.S. National Weather Service.
Thunderstorms are predicted from the lower Mississippi Valley to the mid-Atlantic region from Tuesday through Wednesday morning. Additionally, parts of northern New England may experience snowfall. As a result, delays and congestion are likely, impacting travel plans during what the AAA group expects to be the busiest period since 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Driving Dominates Travel Plans
The majority of travelers are expected to drive, possibly motivated by a drop in gasoline prices from 2022. AAA estimates that around 49 million people will get behind the wheel between November 22 and November 26, which is a 1.7% increase from the corresponding period in 2022.
The heaviest rain and most challenging driving conditions are expected along the Interstate 95 corridor between Washington and New York. This adverse weather is expected to peak on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, causing ponding of water on the roads, especially in major metropolitan areas. Andrew Orrison, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, warned of potentially hazardous road conditions in this region.
Flight Disruptions and Passengers
As of Tuesday afternoon, Flightaware, a flight tracking website, reported that 24 U.S. flights had been canceled, with nearly 1,800 delayed out of over 48,000 estimated scheduled flights. Industry group Airlines for America anticipates that U.S. airlines will carry approximately 29.9 million passengers between November 17 and November 27. In a video address on the group’s website, spokesperson Rebecca Spicer urged travelers to pack their patience due to the unprecedented number of people flying during Thanksgiving.