Atypical dry spell could last through Thanksgiving Day

Nov 21, 2022, 10:45 AM | Updated: 10:53 am

travel survey SEATTLE TRAFFIC...

The Puget Sound Regional Council is asking residents to fill out a survey about their commute (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

According to the American Automobile Association, close to 55 million people plan to travel at least 50 miles from home this holiday weekend – close to pre-pandemic levels.

The majority (nearly 90%) will drive to their families this holiday season, so here is a look at what to prepare for on the weather front as holiday travel plans come together.

2022 Thanksgiving travel expected to be third-busiest on record

After a wet Tuesday, higher pressure aloft will produce dry days across western Washington for Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day, and that includes going over the Cascades to the east side. Then overnight Thursday into Friday morning, rain returns briefly before drying out again for the rest of Black Friday.

High temperatures will be milder than in recent days, climbing mainly into the 50s with overnight temperatures ranging from the upper-30s to mid-40s. Snow levels will be above pass levels.

The rest of the holiday weekend may turn cooler and wet, with snow returning to the mountain passes as a series of Pacific weather systems move onshore. Rain is expected at times in western Washington for Saturday and Sunday.

Snow levels in the Cascades though will drop to between 2,000 and 3,000 feet Saturday and Sunday. Prepare for snow on the roads through Stevens and Snoqualmie passes, and temperatures across western Washington will be seasonable with highs around 50 degrees and lows on either side of 40.

For eastern Washington, Wednesday and Thursday also look dry though there will be areas of low clouds and fog. Then there will likely be some light rain or snow at times Friday through the weekend. Highs will range from 35 to 45 degrees, and lows from 25 to 35 degrees.

For those flying out for the holiday weekend, overall, the nation will have rather tranquil weather, a relief to those who experienced feet of snow across the Great Lakes region into western Pennsylvania and New York. The expected weather trouble spots will be across northern Idaho into the Rockies of Montana, as well as the Northeast again on Saturday and Sunday, with some expected snow that could impact air travel in those regions.

At the gas pump, prices have dropped around a dime in just the past week across much of Washington. Yet, current prices are about 90 cents above what the cost of gas was a year ago but well below the peak in June this year.

So in western Washington, after a record November dry spell of 13 days (could hit 14 if no measurable rain falls Monday), more typical fall, wet weather returns this week and into the holiday weekend with the exception of a dry Wednesday and Thanksgiving. If driving across the Cascades into eastern Washington, prepare for weekend snow on your return trip.

Follow Ted Buehner, the KIRO FM news meteorologist on Twitter 

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Atypical dry spell could last through Thanksgiving Day