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Incoming storm system could cause trouble for holiday travelers

November 22, 2018

A storm system brewing off the coast of Alaska is expected to sweep southward across the lower 48 states this weekend and could make a mess of travel after Thanksgiving.

Meteorologists are advising those planning long road trips to monitor evolving conditions.

“People really do need to pay attention to this one,” said Cathy Zapotocny, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

This will likely be a fast-moving storm that meteorologists won’t have a good handle on until it’s nearly right on top of the U.S., she said.

In other words, it will likely be Friday before meteorologists are able to issue forecasts with a high level of confidence. And by Saturday, the storm will likely be moving out of the Rockies into the Plains.

“That’s not going to give people a lot of time to make adjustments,” she said.

There’s much about the storm that could change in the next few days, including the track, timing, strength and type of precipitation.

Based on the latest forecast, travelers across Nebraska on Saturday would likely be driving through rain. By Saturday night into Sunday, the storm could turn nasty with dropping temperatures, accumulating snow and strong winds.

That’s why people who plan to drive on Sunday should keep an eye on things, Zapotocny said. It may be that Saturday would be a better travel day.

“We’ve got good weather ahead of Thanksgiving,” she said. “But it will be a big change from the weather we’ve had, so it might catch people off guard.”

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