The weather is expected to be clear for many of the millions of Americans returning home after the Thanksgiving holiday this weekend, but snow is expected across the Rocky Mountains and the Midwest, conditions that could be dangerous on a weekend already plagued by fatal accidents.
Skies are expected to be particularly crowded. The Transportation Security Administration expects the Sunday after Thanksgiving to be its busiest travel day ever, with an estimated 2.9 million passengers preparing to fly, surpassing the previous record of more than 2.8 million set on December 1, 2019.
“We expect this holiday season to be our busiest ever. In 2023, we have already seen seven of the 10 busiest travel days in TSA history,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a press release.
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A winter storm is forecast for the Midwest, with clear weather on the coasts
The National Weather Service expected the storm to cover some areas in western Colorado, Utah and Wyoming with up to two feet of snow through Friday.
On Saturday morning, the storm will head toward the Midwest, bringing snow to parts of Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois and Michigan, according to Accuweather. With area temperatures in the mid 20s overnight, snow can cause icy conditions on the road.
“Heavy snow will fall east of the Rocky Mountains in parts of Kansas. Six to 12 inches of snow will likely fall in the state's central counties,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said in a news release.
Meanwhile, skies were mostly sunny on the East Coast on Thursday and Friday, though some rain and showers were expected in some areas, including New York, Boston and Philadelphia.
California skies were sunny from Los Angeles to the northern part of the state, while forecasts in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest showed mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the 30s and 40s.
A cold front is expected to head into Texas after the holiday Thursday, with rain possible in Houston on Saturday evening.
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Fatal car accidents while traveling on vacation
Many Americans are planning to return home from their destinations. AAA expects the Thanksgiving holiday will see more than 49 million drivers take to the roads, an increase of 1.7% from last year.
“For many Americans, Thanksgiving and travel go hand in hand, and on this holiday, we expect more people on the roads, skies and seas than in 2022,” said AAA Vice President Paula Twaddell.
A number of fatal traffic accidents have already occurred across the country.
At least 14 people were killed in Georgia over the holiday weekend, according to police Georgia State Patrol. In Colquitt County, five of the nine passengers in a truck were killed Thanksgiving afternoon when their car collided with a RAM truck on Highway 111, Colquitt County Coroner Verlin Brock told the Moultrie Observer.
The California Highway Patrol reported two deaths in a fatal highway crash on Interstate 99 near Modesto in the early hours of Thanksgiving, KFSN reported. A 22-year-old man who was driving the wrong way and a 30-year-old passenger in the SUV he hit died in the accident.
In South Los Angeles, four people died in a crash near State Route 94 at about 2:30 a.m. Thanksgiving morning, according to the CHP. The 26-year-old driver lost control of the car, causing it to overturn, ejecting the driver and four passengers.
Another crash in Los Angeles killed a mother driving her 8-year-old child and another passenger on Thanksgiving Day around 1:30 p.m. The accident occurred near a bus stop in Manchester Square.