Thanksgiving Weather: Some questions remain but early indications are it will be dry

We’re a week away from Thanksgiving and one of the biggest travel/shopping weekends of the year – and questions naturally turn to what kind of weather to expect. Right now at least, we’re not looking at any major storm systems in the area and the weather looks potentially cool for the closing days of November.

We’ll look at a few computer models for an idea of what they are projecting, but keep in mind these should all be taken to be used for information only — they will change a little and perhaps a lot in the coming days, so this is simply intended as a general information type of post. To get a better look at any graphic, just click on it to bring it up full screen.

The new high resolution GFS model, due to become operational in January, shows the area under high pressure on Thanksgiving Day. It also has a coolish look to it with temperatures below freezing. This would be a dry forecast for us with a few light snowshowers over the mountains to the east and in the snow belts of the Great Lakes.  Some rain and mountain snow in the PACNW.


The operational GFS paints a similar picture, but is a few degrees cooler, keeping our high pressure area a little further west.


The Canadian model is different, but still dry for us.  It places a low to our north in Minnesota and has a dry cool front extending south into Missouri.  This would be a breezy and mild day for most of the district, but turning cooler from west to east as the day progresses. Nationwide, it brings wintry precipitation to the upper Midwest and western Great Lakes, while the PACNW is dry.  It also forecasts some mountain snow showers over the Rockies and is very cold for the northern Plains.


The European Model is different as well. It is in the progress of organizing a storm in the southern High Plains with light snows breaking out from eastern Kansas to central Missouri and some light rain for STL/SEMO/SW IL. Temperatures are in the upper 20s to mid 30s. Outside of that storm, much of the nation is dry except for some light snows in the Great Lakes, Rockies and northeast. This possible solution is considered the least likely at this point..with the overnight run spinning up a major snowstorm over the holiday weekend…which has since disappeared.  This model was the only long-range model which had a totally different upper air pattern than the other models — that also makes it’s projection suspect.


Right now the very early outlook for Thanksgiving calls for scattered cloud cover. Rain (or snow) chances look to be slim to nonexistent.  The only question remains as to temperature.  Average high temperatures on Thanksgiving are in the mid 40s with lows in the mid 20s.  Right now, highs in the mid 30s are expected in the Topeka and Kansas City area, with near 40 for Columbia, STL and low 40s for SEMO/SW IL. This will depend upon the timing of the weather system this weekend, and the high pressure area following early next week and finally a dry cold front following behind that late week.  Should timing slow down in the days to come, temperatures could be in the 40s area wide, with cooling delayed until the Thanksgiving weekend.


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