Crashes are messy. When it is crashing weather systems during the Thanksgiving Holiday it becomes unbelievably messy. Welcome to the holiday mess of 2013.
When cold air crashes into warm, wet air, it creates a mess, like the weather during the Thanksgiving travel week.
What is happening is simple. A cold front marched across the United States during the last week of November. On Thursday, November 21, it brought high winds and blackouts to Southern California valleys and snowy whiteouts to the California mountains. By Saturday and Sunday, Texas and Oklahoma were chilling out. By Tuesday, it reached the East Coast.
Temperatures are still warm in the Atlantic, so the Gulf and East Coast had plenty of warm, moist air. The cold air crashed into the moisture and – UGH! From West Virginia and Pennsylvania north, there was snow. South of the Mid-Atlantic States, the rains came a-tumbling down.
Traveling in the snow is such fun. Photo courtesy: KRQE, Albuquerque, NM
All of this is great if you are a southern flower or a northern skier. If, however, you are some poor traveler who just wanted to go home and share Thanksgiving with your family, it was a mess. Tuesday and Wednesday are two of the busiest travel days of the year. Jammed roads turned to ice-skating rinks. Airports turned to parking lots. Not only were flights delayed or cancelled in the East, but these delays also rippled across the nation.
Aaargh! We hope you brought a book, video games, soothing music and a philosophical attitude to the airport if you traveled. Hopefully, your travels were easy and you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Let us know how your travel or holiday went.
Evelyn Browning Garriss, historical climatologist, is a longtime writer for The Old Farmer's Almanac. She is also editor of The Browning World Climate Bulletin and has advised farmers, businesses, and investors worldwide on upcoming climate events and their economic and social impact for the past 21 years.