Thanksgiving travel forecast: What you need to know before hitting the road


One of the busiest travel days of the year is upon us. More than 54 million Americans are expected to travel in the coming days making this the busiest Thanksgiving since 2005.

If you're getting ready to head over the river and through the woods, or you're expecting company at your house you're no doubt hoping for smooth sailing on the roads. This year's travel forecast is looking pretty good as most of the region is expected to be dry.

Above is the forecast for Wednesday morning. That circle is simply the edge of a boundary 250 miles from Columbus (as the crow flies). For most it'll take anywhere from about four to seven hours to reach the edge of that circle - assuming ideal driving conditions and that you're following the speed limit. Notice that most of the area is expected to be dry on Wednesday morning.

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You can't rule out some stray flurries in Northern Ohio but the best chance for snow will be in Northeast Ohio and for those who are traveling along the eastern shore of Lake Erie.

Light snow is expected in that region but accumulations should remain on the low side with anywhere between an inch or so throughout the day on Wednesday in NE Ohio to possibly up to 3+ inches in far Western New York. While not much, that's still enough to cause some slick spots so be careful if you're headed up that way.

Also, keep in mind that gusty winds will be with us in that area as well. That means that some snow squalls could affect travelers especially as you head through far Western Pennsylvania and Western New York state. These would lead to quick accumulations and whiteout conditions. Snow in that area will let up as we head through the afternoon.

On Wednesday afternoon the light snow will shift to Southern Pennsylvania and the mountain regions of West Virginia. Totals there are expected to be light - generally up to an inch or so - but slick spots could still develop. Again, here in central Ohio a few spotty flurries can't be ruled out but right now the biggest thing motorists in our area will face would be busy roads.

Bottom line: if you're headed to Northeastern Ohio the best chance for inclement weather will be early. If you're heading southeast of Central Ohio the best chance for any snow would be later in the day. All in all though, Wednesday isn't shaping up to be too bad of a day if you're hitting the roads. Enjoy your holiday!