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Holiday Travel Weather Outlook: Wind, Rain, and Snow

By Matthew Phenix


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Courtesy of Pixabay

Your snapshot forecast for the continental United States, the Caribbean and Central America, and Western Europe

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To suggest that 2017 was a busy year for weather-watchers would be a fairly gross understatement. The year was marked by a gigantic tornado outbreak in the South, severe flooding in California that gave way to choking drought conditions, a crop-damaging early spring freeze in the Southeast, a $2.2-billion hailstorm in Colorado, and, of course, a deadly trio of Atlantic hurricanes.

And the year isn't over: Here's a quick look at the weather that could affect your holiday travel plans. Check back for updates and don’t forget to bring a waterproof backpack or bag.

Last updated: Tuesday, December 19

Southern California

After raging for two destructive weeks, the Thomas fire is now the third largest California wildfire on record, and although firefighters have contained 50 percent of it, the blaze may soon take the top spot. Sadly, the situation could worsen this week, as dry winds pick up across the region. Wednesday will bring winds of 30-40 mph from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles, and gusts as high as 60 mph. At present, the Santa Barbara Airport is open, with arrivals and departures happening on schedule. Santa Barbara County has set up a frequently updated list of road closures, evacuations, and other disruptions caused by the fire; find it here.


A storm system rolls in off the Pacific late Tuesday, bringing a soaking rain to northernmost California, Oregon, and Washington State, and heavy mountain snow inland, to Idaho, Montana, and the Dakotas, through Wednesday.


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By Thursday, the storm that rolled over the Pacific Northwest reaches the Plains, bringing copious snowfall from Wisconsin to Colorado and heavy rain farther south. 


By Friday, the system that started in the Pacific Northwest reaches the Northeast, but warmer temperatures will restrict snow to the northern New England states; expect rain from Massachusetts to the District of Columbia. And behind all this ugly weather is cold—deep, Arctic cold. 


A storm system rolls through Central Texas on Tuesday evening, bringing heavy rains—and possibly damaging winds—across the Deep South, from San Antonio into Mississippi and Alabama.


By Wednesday, the storm line that originated in Texas will sweep through the Southeast, soaking the Florida Panhandle, Georgia, and the Carolinas with as much as four inches of rain.

The Caribbean and Central America

They don’t call it the high season for nothing: Expect a picture-perfect week across the Caribbean region and Central America. Send us a postcard.

Western Europe

The outlook for Europe is mostly quiet. Snowfall earlier in the week in places like Lyon (pictured below) will give way to clearing skies and warmer temperatures. Through Friday, expect seasonably pleasant conditions in London, Paris, Rome, and Madrid.

Sources: ABC News, AccuWeather, The Weather Channel

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