Mild for Most: Your Thanksgiving National Outlook

All signs point to a mild Thanksgiving for much of the country, although rain could mess up outdoor eating plans for some.


What You Need To Know

  • The national Thanksgiving weather outlook generally looks quiet
  • Temperatures look relatively mild, in general
  • Warmer Thanksgiving weather could be extra important in 2020
  • AAA expects at least a 10 percent drop in travel nationally this year

All signs still point to much of the country being relatively mild, especially east of the Rockies. Highs in the 40s and 50s should dominate the Great Lakes region, with 60s and 70s in the Southeast. Some will even top 80 degrees in Texas and Florida.

These high temperatures are about 10 degrees above normal.

That warmer weather could be accompanied by some rain in spots, though. A sizable weather system will still be on its way out on Thanksgiving, so parts of the Eastern U.S. still have a rain chance.

The weather system responsible for the rain will have its biggest effect Tuesday and Wednesday before moving off the East Coast on Thanksgiving Day.

Cool and unsettled weather may disrupt the holiday in the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest, where an outdoor feast impossible for most.

Hooray, Warm Thanksgiving!

This year more than most, of course, a warm and outdoor-friendly Thanksgiving will be an extra reason to celebrate in light of the pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are recommending, when possible, that Thanksgiving celebrations be conducted outdoors.

“Host outdoor rather than indoor gatherings as much as possible,” the CDC says of safe COVID-19 holiday celebrations. “Even outdoors, require guests to wear masks when not eating or drinking.”

Reduced Travel, Especially By Air

AAA is expecting the recent national surge in COVID-19 cases to significantly reduce the amount of travel this year across the country.

According to estimates from AAA, at least a 10% drop in U.S. travel is forecast for this year from Thanksgiving 2019 levels, a figure that could drop even further with the continued increase in confirmed cases and additional restrictions.

AAA said that’s the largest one-year drop since the Great Recession of 2008.

The non-profit travel organization measures travel data every year. AAA expects air travel alone to drop by nearly 50% this year.