Holiday travel is top of mind for many ahead of Thanksgiving week.
If you are heading out to meet grandma, mamma or auntie, there’s some snow in the forecast for those in the Great Lakes and some rain along the Gulf Coast. In addition, the FOX Forecast Center is tracking all sorts of travel headaches that could impact your trip.
"Rain is not a huge issue, but when it starts getting into snow and visibility and very low visibility, it tends to slow things down if not stop air travel," pilot and meteorologist J.P. Dice said.
Airlines can deal with the rain, but the snow starts to stall airport operations.
"And then those departure corridors and arrivals start really getting backed up," Dice said. "And that's where you get the ground stops, and they're not letting anybody take off."
In terms of air traffic control, airplanes can operate in those environments typically, but there's only so much capacity the system can handle, Dice added
Over the summer, numerous cancelations impacted many travelers. Dice said he believes a similar number of cancelations are possible the day before Thanksgiving, which is among the biggest travel days of the season.
"And I think you probably will have some delays and some travel headaches," Dice said. "The reason for that, the whole travel system, the airline industry is still a little challenged when it comes to staffing. Even on a good day, they're still dealing with some of those struggles."
There are shortages of pilots, flight attendants and maintenance people as the industry continues to recover after the pandemic, Dice said. Mix in some weather issues, and you've got slowdowns.
"It really just becomes a domino effect, and you start seeing those cancelations and even the delays out there," Dice said. "It doesn't necessarily have to be the worst weather that you've ever seen to start getting some of those travel headaches."
The rumors of pilots threatening to strike during Thanksgiving week for greater flexibility in their schedules could hamper your holiday travel if it happens, according to Dice.
"Their argument, they're fighting for, like in many industries – better pay and better schedules," Dice said. "But of course, if something like that did happen, that would be a big issue that goes far beyond what you would be dealing with (the) weather."