Indulgent days of sunny skies await South Florida this Thanksgiving week, but anyone venturing to other regions of the U.S. may face freezing rain, thunderstorms or several feet of snow.
There’s even a burgeoning tropical cyclone in the southwest Caribbean.
In an unusual late-season move by Mother Nature, Tropical Storm Otto formed Monday in the southwest Caribbean and is expected to become a hurricane by Wednesday. The storm, which is no threat to the U.S., is forecast to make landfall in Costa Rica or Nicaragua as a Category 1 cyclone on Thursday. Maximum sustained winds could reach 80 mph.
Besides Otto’s oddball formation, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Paul Walker said there’s nothing too out of the ordinary occurring as far weather patterns go across the U.S.
A robust low pressure system that dragged so-called winter storm Argos – named by The Weather Channel – through the northeast is making its way into the North Atlantic Ocean. Behind it is a second low pressure system that on Tuesday will harass the central and northern plains with snow, rain and freezing rain.
By Thanksgiving, that system will bring rain to a large slice of the country from Alabama to Michigan and into Virginia and Maryland. Areas further north, including upstate Pennsylvania and New York could see snow and ice.
“There doesn’t look to be any record heat or record cold,” Walker said. “Things are more seasonable than what we’ve had.”
Still, anyone traveling to central and upstate New York may be warily eyeing current conditions.
A wide area including Binghamton, Syracruse, Rochester and Utica had received one to 2 feet of snow as of Monday morning and was expecting more before tapering off later Tuesday.
Dave Nicosia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Binghamton, said it was just 25 degrees Monday at noon with sustained 17 mph winds pushing wind-chill temps down into the single digits.
“So, yeah, it’s cold up here,” Nicosia said.
The chill may have been especially shocking considering Saturday’s high temperature in Binghamto was 66 degrees.
“We were just basking in what we would consider warmth and now we are under a foot-and-a-half of snow and it’s 25 degrees,” Nicosia said.
The coldest areas of the country toward the end of the week will be in the northern and central Rockies where high temperatures aren’t expected to reach much above freezing.
In Vail, Colo., Thanksgiving daytime highs will struggle to hit 32 degrees, with an overnight low of 6 degrees. That follows a winter storm warning that is in effect through 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“It’s still a pretty warm storm for us and over in Vail they’ll be getting about 4-8 inches,” said Tom Renwick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, Colo. “Once you get above 10,000 feet, there could be a foot or more.”
Telluride ski area, which is in the San Juan Mountains, if forecast to get up to 14 inches of snow.
Renwick said much of the snow will be finished Tuesday afternoon, but another little system that moves through Thanksgiving morning will dump 3 to 6 inches in the Steamboat Springs area northwest of Denver.
“This is pretty normal for us,” Renwick said.