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Thanksgiving week is among the heaviest travel periods of the year. Here is a look at current thinking regarding how our weather will evolve over the next 7 days:

Forecaster confidence is high in expecting excellent weather conditions across much of the country through Thanksgiving Eve. With the recent cold, snowy pattern gone, a period of dry weather with day-to-day warming is expected across the Chicago area as well as adjacent regions of the Midwest. High pressure sprawled across the Southeast will inhibit any northward flow of Gulf moisture. By Wednesday evening, low pressure and an attendant cold front from southern Manitoba to the Texas Panhandle will encourage S-SW winds across the Midwest, spreading 50-degree temps as far north as the western Great Lakes.

Wind and increasing mid/high-level cloudiness will keep temps well above freezing through Wednesday night. Forecast precipitation for the Monday-through-Wednesday period supports this scenario. Little or no precipitation is expected across a vast swath of the country. Exceptions will be the Pacific Northwest and parts of northern Rockies, SE Texas, and the Florida peninsula.

Thanksgiving Day Forecast

On Thanksgiving Day, the upper-level wave over the northern plains is forecast to deepen into a closed low circulation over the western Great Lakes. Model guidance is quite divergent on how, and to what degree this process would take place so forecast confidence for the Thursday-Friday period is moderate-low. The most plausible scenario would sweep a cold front across the Chicago region on Thursday, introducing an influx of colder (though not frigid) air. As Gulf moisture is eventually drawn into this system, cloud cover will be on the increase. By Thursday evening, showers will be possible. The influx of colder air combined with favorable upper-level dynamics will also support the possibility of some snow or snow showers Thursday night into Friday. This does not at all look like it would blossom into a significant event as expected precipitation amounts remain scant.

Next Sunday (Nov. 27) Noon Outlook

The close of the extended holiday weekend looks very favorable for travel. The Thursday-Friday system is expected to be transient, and confidence is high that it will have exited via the Canadian Maritimes by midday Sunday, with only residual snow or flurries remaining over northern New England. Broad west-to-east upper-level flow is to become reestablished allowing dry, mild conditions to resume across most of the continental U.S.