What day statistically has the best weather for Thanksgiving travel?

Thanksgiving 2022 is expected to be the third busiest since 2000, according to the AAA. Early in the morning or after dinner are among the best times to drive this holiday, and flying on Thanksgiving might help you avoid some of the most hectic times at the airport.

Before heading to grandma's house for some pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving, you can plan to avoid peak travel times if you want to save time and stress. But when is the weather statistically to be in your favor?

FOX Weather Senior Weather Data Specialist Shane Brown reviewed the past 30 years of available weather data from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through the Saturday after the holiday to determine which day is most likely to have the best weather. 

According to Brown, the most weather-friendly day, on average, has been Black Friday. 

"Over the past 30 years, Black Friday has averaged about 22% total U.S. coverage of measurable rain and/or snow," Brown said.

The most weather-free day in these 30 years was Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, with only 7% of the U.S. seeing measurable rain and/or snow.

THANKSGIVING WEATHER FORECAST 2022

On the flip side, the worst weather day was Saturday, Nov. 30, 1996. About 45% of the U.S. saw measurable rain and/or snow on this day. That date was also marked by severe weather across the Southern Plains, with tornadoes in Louisiana.

You'll have the best chance of avoiding bad weather for travel if you check the FOX Weather forecast and add your Thanksgiving location to the plan tab in the FOX Weather app.

Best and worst times to travel for Thanksgiving if you are driving

With the help from AAA, we know the best times to be on the road or at the airport based on travel data since 2000 and forecast travel numbers this year.

In 2022, nearly 55 million Americans are expected to travel by air, plane, train or car for the Thanksgiving holiday, reaching totals close to pre-pandemic levels, according to the AAA.

HOW TO WATCH FOX WEATHER

AAA’s Senior Vice President of Travel Paula Twidale said travelers should expect this year to be the third-busiest Thanksgiving since 2000 when the AAA started tracking travel numbers.

"Regardless of the mode of transportation you have chosen, expect crowds during your trip and at your destination. If your schedule is flexible, consider off-peak travel times during the holiday rush," Twidale said.

Peak travel days start Nov. 23 through Nov. 27.

Most of the holiday travel will happen by car this year, with 48.7 million people forecast to drive to their Thanksgiving destinations. This year's busiest highways will be near Atlanta, Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles metro areas.

HOW WILL WEATHER IMPACT YOUR THANKSGIVING TRAVEL PLANS?

To avoid some holiday chaos, the AAA says roads will be less hectic early in the morning before 8 a.m. on Wednesday or before 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. 

After you are stuffed with turkey and pie, the best time to head home will be after 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. 

The AAA recommends avoiding traveling between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. 

Best and worst times to fly during Thanksgiving week

Airports also expect close to pre-pandemic numbers of Thanksgiving travelers this year.

More than 4.5 million people in the U.S. will fly during the holiday week, with Tuesday, Nov. 22, appears to be overtaking Wednesday as the busiest travel day this year, according to AAA. 

To avoid the travel rush, booking a flight on Thanksgiving Day itself may be the best route, according to AAA booking data. 

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