WEDNESDAY’S WEATHER-TRAFFIC: Sunny, cool for busy Thanksgiving travel day


ATLANTA FORECAST

Wednesday High: 56

Wednesday night: Low: 36

Thursday: High: 58

» For a detailed forecast, visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution weather page.

It’s a mixed bag for those hitting the roads Wednesday ahead of Thanksgiving. Traffic will be heavy, but at least the weather is cooperating.

“No rain for us,” Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Karen Minton said. “The Southeast is looking good for this big travel day. In other areas, you head north and you’re going to run into some snow, and out west, some rain, but in Georgia and the Southeast we are dry and that’s good news.”

North Georgia is starting out chilly Wednesday, with lots of sunshine to boost temperatures into the low-50s by noon and to a high of 56 degrees in Atlanta by 3 p.m., according to Channel 2.

“It is going to get a little cooler, but we are still going to have a fantastic Thanksgiving,” Minton said.

She predicts Atlanta will wake up to temps in the mid-30s on Turkey Day, while the mountains could dip below freezing. A high in the mid- to upper 50s is expected again Thursday.

“Lots of sunshine,” she said. “As high pressure is in place, the air is dry. Gradually the big ridge providing us with it is going to break down, and it is going to allow moisture to return.”

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Winds are expected to kick up Thursday night into Friday, Minton said, and then on Friday a backdoor front makes its way to Georgia, wedging down over the Appalachians. Clouds should increase before patchy, light rain develops.

“We’re dry Thanksgiving day and much of Friday as you’re heading out to the malls to shop, but then here comes that rain Friday evening into the overnight hours.” 

There is a 90 percent chance of late showers Friday. According to Channel 2, rain continues into Saturday morning before the wedge starts to break down, allowing for some clearing. A 60 percent chance of rain Saturday drops to 20 percent Sunday.

The traffic outlook is not as optimal. Wednesday is setting up to be one of the worst travel days ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Google analysts recommend avoiding the roads around 3 p.m. The Georgia Department of Transportation, however, predicts traffic will pick up even earlier than that, making noon to 4 p.m. the worst time to travel from Buckhead this week.

MORE: The best and worst times to drive in Atlanta this Thanksgiving

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Congestion on the roadways is expected to pick up by 5 to 10 percent, with a 35 to 40 percent decrease in speeds. 

Drivers won’t just be flocking to the interstates. Expect to see more congestion around bakeries, grocery stores and liquor stores, as Google analysts suggest Wednesday afternoon is the most popular time to get in last-minute shopping.

So far, there is no extra congestion to clog the Wednesday morning drive, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center. In fact, there are fewer drivers on the roads. 

“School is out, so it’s a lighter than normal flow,” traffic reporter Mark McKay said. 

» For updated traffic information, listen to News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB and follow @ajcwsbtraffic on Twitter. 

» Download The Atlanta Journal-Constitution app for weather alerts on-the-go.





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