Cars were the most popular method of travel for Thanksgiving as of last year, with 48.5 million people driving — a 5 percent increase from 2017

By Jen Juneau and Hannah Chubb
November 27, 2019 11:38 AM
Credit: Getty

Families traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday throughout the Midwest and West regions of the United States may want to have some backup plans.

Two major storms are impacting holiday travels plans this Thanksgiving Eve — one pummeling the upper Midwest with snow and heavy winds, and the other slamming Oregon and California with snow, wind and rain.

According to ABC News, the Midwest storm has been bringing up to 60 mph wind gusts to the area, which are expected to cause significant delays at Midwest airports. Colorado has been hit with over 30 inches of snow, while Nebraska and Kansas both received 10 inches. On Wednesday morning, eight inches of snow had been reported in Iowa and Minnesota.

Four tornados have also been reported in association with the storm: Two in Louisiana and two in Mississippi.

On the West Coast, an unofficial all-time low pressure record was set in California over the night on Tuesday, and a 106 mph wind gust was recorded in Oregon. ABC News reports that this particular storm is expected to weaken throughout the day on Wednesday, though wind gusts of 50 mph and heavy rain are expected to be problematic for many forms of travel.

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Midwest region storm system
| Credit: CNN reports that Wednesday “may be a headache in parts of the East and West,” citing potentially strong winds in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions as part of a low-pressure system from the Mississippi Valley.

“It appears any precipitation would fall as rain from the Interstate 95 corridor of the Northeast southward,” reports. “Any snow may be pinned to parts of the Great Lakes and interior Northeast.”

But the storm out West seems a bit more serious, with a good deal of rain expected to soak Southern California and snow in the Sierras, says CNN.

According to, “a rather expansive, cold storm should bring rain and relatively low snow levels to California, as well as parts of the Great Basin and Rockies” that could lead to delays of departing flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco.

West region storm system
| Credit: CNN

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Ahead of Thanksgiving last year, 54 million Americans were expected to travel more 50 miles. The prediction was almost a 5 percent increase from 2017, which came out to about 2.5 million more people hitting the road, according to a report from AAA.

Cars were the most popular method of travel for Thanksgiving, with 48.5 million people driving — a 5 percent increase from the previous year.

That was followed by 4.27 million people taking planes (the largest growth, up 5.4 percent), then trains, buses and cruise ships, which accounted for 1.48 million travelers, up by 1.4 percent.