Powerful storm threatens to disrupt busiest travel weekend

The National Weather Service alerted that travel could become impossible in some places.

Posted: Nov 29, 2019 1:18 PM
Updated: Nov 29, 2019 3:10 PM

A powerful storm making its way east from California is threatening major disruptions during the year’s busiest travel weekend, as forecasters warned that intensifying snow and ice could thwart millions across the country hoping to get home after Thanksgiving.

The storm has already shut down highways in the western U.S., stranding drivers in California and prompting authorities in Arizona to plead with travelers to wait out the weather before attempting to travel.

The storm is expected to track east through the weekend — into the Plains on Friday, the Midwest by Saturday and the Northeast on Sunday — pummeling a huge portion of the country with snow, ice or flash flooding.

The National Weather Service alerted that travel could become impossible in some places.

The agency issued storm warnings Friday for a swath of the country stretching from Montana to Nebraska to Wisconsin, with heavy snow anticipated in parts of Utah, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming.

One hopeful traveler asked the weather service Friday on Twitter whether it would be advisable to drive to Duluth, Minnesota, over the weekend. The agency warned: “If you are in Duluth by tonight, you will likely be stuck there until at least Sunday afternoon due to heavy snow and blizzard conditions.”

The weather threatened to be particularly disruptive on Sunday, when millions of holiday travelers start home. Airlines for America, the airline industry’s trade group, expects 3.1 million passengers during what could be the busiest day ever recorded for American air travel.

The group estimated a record of 31.6 million people will travel over a 12-day holiday period. Airlines on Friday said they were so far operating as usual as they monitor the weather. American Airlines issued weather-related waivers Friday for just one airport: Rapid City, South Dakota.

Sections of the state were under a blizzard warning and could see howling winds and as much as 2 feet of snow. The South Dakota Highway Patrol posted a photo on Facebook of a semi-truck that veered from Interstate 90 near Rapid City. "Do not travel if you don't have to!" the agency wrote.

Karlee Wilkinson, a 22-year-old college student in Long Beach, California, missed a Thanksgiving gathering entirely because of snow on the way to her destination.

She and her roommate left late Thursday morning for what was supposed to be a two-hour drive. But the snow started falling in flakes bigger than she’d ever seen, the highway became gridlocked, and their car kept overheating.

At first it seemed like an adventure: They made snowmen in the highway median. But when the sun set, the temperature dropped, and they decided to turn around and head home. Their Thanksgiving dinner was chicken nuggets from a fast food drive-through.

“This is not how this is supposed to go, this is not what an American Thanksgiving is supposed to be,” Wilkinson said. “It can only get better than this. I’ll never have a worse Thanksgiving, knock on wood.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 4302

Reported Deaths: 154
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah117159
Marion97326
Washington74317
Clackamas31711
Deschutes1270
Umatilla1203
Linn1179
Polk10012
Lane773
Yamhill707
Jackson670
Benton555
Clatsop450
Jefferson440
Klamath440
Malheur320
Coos310
Douglas270
Wasco241
Josephine241
Hood River180
Columbia160
Lincoln150
Morrow120
Curry70
Union60
Tillamook60
Crook60
Wallowa20
Lake20
Sherman10
Harney10
Grant10
Baker10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 114733

Reported Deaths: 4217
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles560112386
Riverside7982331
San Diego7481269
Orange6474147
San Bernardino5355204
Alameda347096
Santa Clara2776141
San Francisco257043
Kern232238
San Mateo216584
Tulare189789
Imperial175129
Fresno174335
Santa Barbara164912
Contra Costa146838
Sacramento142958
Ventura115234
Kings11225
San Joaquin90834
Stanislaus74429
Sonoma5644
Monterey54510
Solano51722
Marin48314
Merced2837
San Luis Obispo2711
Santa Cruz2172
Placer2179
Yolo21124
Napa1133
Madera1062
Humboldt1013
El Dorado960
San Benito872
Butte510
Del Norte460
Sutter462
Nevada411
Shasta394
Mono371
Yuba301
Mendocino300
Lake210
Inyo201
Mariposa161
Glenn160
Calaveras150
Amador100
Siskiyou70
Colusa70
Lassen50
Plumas40
Tuolumne40
Tehama41
Alpine20
Sierra10
Trinity10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 59°
Brookings
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 52°
Crater Lake
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 49°
Grants Pass
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 54°
Klamath Falls
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 49°
Warm and dry through midweek
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events