KSN Storm Track 3 Digital Extra: Regional Thanksgiving travel at a glance

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Thousands of Kansans hit the road every holiday season to see friends and family all around the country. Having an accurate and reliable forecast is crucial to ensure smooth sailing to and from your destination. Late fall is often full of intense temperature swings and sometimes potent early winter storms that greatly impact travel.

In 2020, the state of Kansas saw a wide range of temperatures on Thanksgiving Day with highs in western Kansas in the upper 40s with highs near 60° in central Kansas.

Thanksgiving falls on November 25 this year. As we take a look at historical temperatures on this specific day, we see Wichita has an average high of 53° and an average morning low of 31°. Trends are favoring cool air this year for the holiday to the tune of below-average temperatures. The average high in Salina for November 25 is 51° and the average low is 28°.

The average high for Goodland is a bit cooler at 50° and Dodge City comes in with an average high of 53°. Both locations, like the rest of the state, will likely see highs just shy or right at average on Thanksgiving. As a cold front comes through, it will allow that cool air to take over the state.

Wednesday is a busy travel day as many begin their long weekends. A cold front will work through the state, starting from the northwest and working southeast during the day. This means winds will eventually shift from the north/northwest, allowing for that chilly air to spill south. The front is starved for moisture, so I do not expect much precipitation through the Sunflower State.

As the front reaches southeast Kansas, a bit more moisture will be available. This looks to be the main focus for shower and rain activity Wednesday night into early Thursday morning. A few showers may develop farther west closer to the Wichita area, but I am not expecting much.

Travelers through southeast Kansas, eastern Oklahoma, southern Missouri or northern Arkansas, may encounter some late Wednesday night showers.

This band of showers may reach farther south into northern Texas and extend up to Indiana. We are not expecting any snow to mix in with this activity. This system clears east early Thanksgiving morning, leaving the area clear of precipitation.

We will see a mix of sun and clouds across the state during the afternoon on Thanksgiving. We should see rather breezy conditions at times, especially out west.

Friday calls for slightly warmer air, breezy conditions and a mix of sun and clouds. Precipitation chances are nonexistent.

Warm air early in the week, followed by a big cold front for Thanksgiving, will give way to milder air in the 50s for the weekend. For those with outdoor plans, this should work out well!

Enjoy the holiday weekend if you celebrate and trust the KSN Storm Track 3 weather team to be here for you at home and on the go!

– Meteorologist Warren Sears

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