Weather Blog: Holiday Travel Outlook!

Weather Blog

A MASSIVE weather system is moving into the region late week. How will that affect your holiday travel plans? Check out the latest forecast here!

With the Thanksgiving holiday looming ahead, many Arkansans are starting to look at how the weather will affect their travel plans. The NWA Weather Authority team has been monitoring the weather closely this week, as we have many big changes in store for one of the biggest travel weeks of the year. Let’s break down the week for you day-by-day to show what you can expect.

Tuesday:

The key weather word for Tuesday will be “WIND”. A very fast-moving but potent system will swing into the area bringing an extremely tight pressure gradient which means very STRONG winds will be likely throughout the day. Sustained winds will be anywhere between 15-30+ mph. Gusts could reach all the way up into the 50s in some spots. This could certainly cause some wind damage without any storms present. Make sure to secure your outdoor furniture and objects to keep them from becoming projectiles. It would not be a wise choice to be on ladders or anywhere up high that is not protected.

Big picture travel forecast valid for TUESDAY evening.
Wind gust potential valid for TUESDAY morning at 10 a.m. CST

In addition to the strong winds, there could be a brief window for some strong to severe thunderstorms to develop. Any storms severe and non-severe will have the potential to bring down very high winds from aloft to the surface further increasing the potential for wind damage.

Severe threat for Tuesday: Most of our counties will be in a Level 1 out of 5 risk for severe weather… some of our eastern counties, however, could see a better chance for strong to severe storms late on TUESDAY.

If Tuesday were not busy enough weather-wise, a dry line will be moving into the region dropping the dew points and relative humidity significantly. The low moisture content plus VERY gusty and strong winds will pair to elevate the fire danger on the backside of the system.

Dew points Valid TUESDAY morning through early WEDNESDAY morning.

Wednesday:

Wednesday will be the semi-nice day of the week. The only caveat is that the winds will remain in the 20-30 mph sustained category. The wind will be out of the NW and temps will struggle to rise into the 50s, BUT we will see partly cloudy skies throughout the day before our next system arrives Thursday. Wednesday looks like the best day for travel all week until Sunday.

Big picture travel forecast valid for WEDNESDAY evening.

Thanksgiving:

Our next system will arrive Thanksgiving, unfortunately, but we believe that the rain will not arrive until the late afternoon to early evening hours. If you have any outdoor activities planned, try to do them in the morning. The weather also looks good for all of you participating in any Turkey Trots across the region in the morning. The rain will increase in coverage through the evening hours into Friday. Going to see one of the latest Blockbusters might not be a bad idea.

Big picture travel forecast valid for THURSDAY evening.

Black Friday:

It will be a soggy shopping day with rain showers and thunderstorms very LIKELY throughout the day. Rain will be heavy at times and could produce some ponding on the roadways and interstates. If you are out and about, make sure to use plenty of caution as hydroplaning is certainly a possibility. Better lift and instability will arrive late Friday evening into early Saturday morning bringing the increased chances of strong to severe storms across Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

Big picture travel forecast valid for FRIDAY evening.

Saturday:

The early morning hours of Saturday will likely be a mess. Multiple models have developed a line of strong to severe storms across most of the region. The instability is very high and a very strong amount of lift will be moving in to help set off the line of storms. This is something that the weather team here will be watching very closely to see how the models work out the details of this very strong weather system. Stay up to date with the latest information by downloading the NWA Weather Authority app. The app can track your location and send you the latest weather alerts and warnings straight to your phone.

Big picture travel forecast valid for SATURDAY morning.

Above all else, ENJOY this beloved holiday with friends and family. Don’t let the weather rain on your parade. Make good memories this week and stay safe! Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here on the NWA Weather Authority Team!

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