No matter where you are, your Thanksgiving turkey will likely come with a side of cranberry sauce and some form of potatoes (it’s mashed all the way at my house).

There are also some regional weather specialties on tap from snow in the West to balmy temperatures in the Northeast. We’ve rated each region so you know what you’re getting into in case you’re one of the 46.9 million people expected to make a trip on Thanksgiving.

Northeast and Mid-Atlantic
WXshift rating: Four out of four drumsticks

The home of the pilgrims is in for a dose of early fall on Thanksgiving. Warm weather abounds across the Northeast, with highs forecast to reach the upper 50s and even low 60s on Thanksgiving day. You may want to set up the picnic table and take Thanksgiving dinner outdoors. Just don’t get too close to the frier if you’re doing the deep fried turkey thing.

The Northeast had an abnormally toasty start to November and the month will go out on a warm note.

WXshift rating: two out of four drumsticks

After last week’s record-setting first snowfall and cold blast, temperatures in the Midwest have rebounded to near normal or even a tad on the warmer side. That trend will continue, particularly for the southern half of the region.

However, cold air is lurking like Thanksgiving leftovers in the back of your fridge. It’ll creep into the northern and western parts of the region on Thursday and Friday, sending lows into the single digits for parts of the Dakotas.

Model snowfall totals
Model snowfall totals

Model snowfall totals through Friday morning.


West Coast
WXshift rating: three out of four drumsticks

A winter storm is already steering rain and snow into the Northwest ahead of Thanksgiving. Up to 12 inches of snow could fall in the southern Cascades, good news for the drought-starved region that largely got bypassed by last week’s major storm. Even better news? The storm should clear out by Thursday, offering cool but sunny conditions and good travel weather.

The same storm system will also bring precipitation to California, including beneficial mountain snows. Up to a foot-and-a-half of snow could fall in parts of the Sierra Nevada, good news for skiers and reservoirs alike. If you care about those two things, then feel free to adjust the drumstick rating to four out of four.

Mountain West
WXshift rating: two out of four drumsticks

The same winter storm affecting the West Coast to begin the week will arrive in full force in the Rockies on Tuesday evening, providing a follow up to last week’s blizzard. Travel in parts of Montana, Utah and Wyoming could be impacted with blowing snow and heavy accumulations possible through Thursday.

Up to a foot-and-a-half of snow could fall on higher elevations and winds could reach 50 mph, creating hazardous conditions. The storm will also come with a dose of cold air and the National Weather Service has warned that wind chill values in some locations could approach minus-20°F on Wednesday night.

Friday’s forecast lows in Montana and Wyoming will be in the single digits on Black Friday while Salt Lake and Denver will drop into the teens. So if you’re the type to wait outside for good deals, make sure to bring some hot chocolate.

U.S. precipitation totals
U.S. precipitation totals

Precipitation totals through Saturday night for the U.S.


WXshift rating: One out of four drumsticks

OK, it might actually be four out of four if you’re a weather nerd. For everyone else, the Thanksgiving forecast for the South is not one you’re going to want to hear. In the words of WXshift blogger and Oklahoma state climatologist Gary McManus, “it’s going to rain, and probably a lot.”

The South has been a magnet for heavy rain events this fall and Thanksgiving will be no exception. Up to 3 inches of precipitation are expected in the region through Thanksgiving and another blast of 2-4 inches of precipitation courtesy of the remnants of Tropical Storm Sandra — currently swirling in the eastern Pacific but forecast to head inland later this week — could make Black Friday and Small Business Saturday a mess, too.

Notice the use of “precipitation” and not “rain.” It’s possible that a cold front could sweep south and up to a half foot of snow could fall in the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma. If it weren’t for Florida’s usual balmy temperatures, the one drumstick might be a little generous.