Forecast data late Monday night has lent greater confidence in the potential travel hazards and inconveniences associated with a large pre-Christmas storm developing in the center part of the U.S. Severe weather, including tornadoes, is possible across the Gulf Coast states Tuesday and in Florida Wednesday. Blinding downpours for hundreds of miles could slow travel on the highways Tuesday and Wednesday in these same areas, but also stretching up to the Northeast on Christmas Eve. And if that weren’t enough, it is winter. So yes, a wind-blown wet snow will fall on the backside of this storm from the eastern Ozarks to the lower Great Lakes. Even in areas that don’t see significant precipitation with this storm, the rapid intensification of the low pressure will result in moderate to extreme turbulence at times at flight-level altitudes from 100+ mph winds. Needless to say, anyone traveling Tuesday or Wednesday by air, especially east of the Rockies, should prepare for and expect delays or cancellations.
The following slideshow of maps showcases the four primary precipitation hazards Tuesday and Wednesday across the nation. Keep in mind, wind could also be a factor if you’re traveling by air.