Thanksgiving Forecast Threatens 'Unprecedented' Storm to Slow Down Holiday Travel for 20 Million Americans

Tens of millions of Thanksgiving travelers in the United States could have their holiday plans foiled by several storms, including a dangerous storm system threatening parts of the West Coast. More than 20 million people are under winter weather advisories, watches or warnings, CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said, with the National Weather Service dubbing the "historic" storm pummeling southwest Oregon and northwest California Wednesday as "unprecedented."

The storm is forecast to rival the strength of a Category 1 hurricane and pack wind gusts up to 74 mph. It will bring heavy rain to the coast and valleys in California and even heavy snow to the mountains, Hennen said.

"Winter storm warnings cover the Sierra, where snow will be measured in feet starting Tuesday and lasting into Friday," he said, adding that up to two feet of snow could cover the mountains outside Los Angeles.

Elsewhere in Southern California, more than 10 million people are under flash flood watches from San Diego to Anaheim, where one to three inches of rain could make for a soggy Thanksgiving.

Those living in the Rockies and the Midwest should prepare for snow; a winter storm will likely dump 10 to 15 inches of snow over the next few days, with some parts of the Rockies expected to see two to three feet.

"The same storm will spread into the Midwest and likely drop 8 to 12 inches of snow in Minneapolis," Hennen said, adding that Iowa and Michigan will get hammered with snow starting Wednesday.

Delta said it is issuing waivers that will allow passengers traveling to, from or through Denver on Tuesday and Minneapolis on Wednesday to change their travel itinerary without incurring a change fee.

As for the Northeast, ferocious winds and rain could wreak havoc on the skies for travelers on Wednesday. Considering the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade might have to ground its iconic, massive balloons, Thanksgiving could end up one of the windiest in recent history.


What's more is that once the Northeast recovers from the brutal winds on Wednesday and Thursday, travelers will face a second round of obstacles on Sunday with another round of tumultuous winds and rain.

Photo credit: Joe Mahoney / Stringer / Getty