Snow, rain and wildfires kick off holiday travel weekend across U.S.

National Weather Service issues red flag, winter storm warnings


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – According to AAA, more than 107 million Americans will travel during the year-end holiday period from Saturday, Dec. 23 through Monday, Jan. 1. And over the next course of the next week and half each part of the country will be impacted by some type of weather event from rain to snow to wildfires. 

In Jacksonville, we'll stay dry until Saturday evening as daytime highs reach the low-70s. So if you're traveling across the country this weekend, here's a snapshot travel forecast with the focus is from Thursday through the weekend.

Midwest & Great Plains: A winter storm is moving east across the region delivering snow, ice and sleet from Colorado to Michigan. Many areas to west of the Mississippi River have already received snow.

The storm will impact areas from Cleveland to Detroit to Buffalo by Friday night. Anticipate mainly light to moderate snow accumulations from the Plains into the northern Great Lakes, while some areas near the Rockies may get up 6 inches. Across central and southern portions of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, the system will move through mainly as rain-event. High temperatures will range from the low-30s to mid-40s.

Northeast & New England: The same winter storm that will impact the Midwest through Friday evening is moving towards the northeastern states. The snow and rain will move into the region from Friday night into Saturday morning.

Rain showers should be expected from across the Mid-Atlantic states, while snow is in the forecast for Upstate New York to New England. In Boston, they are anticipating one to three inches of accumulation. New England's highs will range from the low-30s to the mid-40s while areas as far south as Virginia should expect afternoon temperatures to hit the low-60s Saturday before dropping into the upper-30s and low-40s Sunday.

South: Over the next three days rain is expected from the East Texas to the coast of the Carolinas. The heaviest bands will to pass through Tennessee Valley northward while the strong storms are likely to develop from the Ozarks to the Deep South, but the chances for severe weather remains low through the weekend.

Generally most areas should anticipate one to two inches of rain from Friday night to Saturday. Most areas across the south will find high temperatures ranging from the low-50s to low-60s. 

West: High pressure over the region we'll lead to calm and dry weather from California to New Mexico. Unfortunately, Strong Santa Ana winds continue to blow through most of Southern California keeping the wildfires alive. A red flag warning will be in place for the area until 10 a.m. Friday.

Meanwhile, the Northwestern states will be impacted by a second winter storm which will produce another round of snow as far east as Denver going into Saturday.  However, cities like Seattle and Portland are expected to only receive rain. Daytime highs will vary across the region, but temperatures area-wide are expected to be slightly below normal for this time of the year.