Wet weather will be a factor for Christmas travel

Posted at 11:51 AM, Dec 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-22 12:58:30-05

GRAND RAPIDS -- Although it doesn't feel like it or look like it with the mild temperatures and snowless landscape, Christmas is just three short days away. This means many West Michiganders have plans to travel to see family and friends over the next couple of days. Although snow will not be a factor in your travel plans, rain will be.

An area of low pressure developing over the high plains of southeastern Colorado will move east this afternoon, and then quickly to the northeast tonight into tomorrow. This low will track across the eastern Upper Peninsula by tomorrow evening, putting us in the "warm sector" -- an area with mild, southeasterly winds and liquid precipitation. In fact with an active jet stream overhead, we may have enough instability for a few thunderstorms to develop tomorrow. Although we are not expecting an all-day rain, it could be moderate to heavy when it does move through. It looks like we'll see a band of heavier rain move through during the mid-afternoon hours, and perhaps a second one just before midnight tomorrow night. So if you are driving to a Christmas destination tomorrow, watch for rapidly changing road conditions from dry to wet with reduced visibility.

Severe weather potential for tomorrow.

Severe weather potential for tomorrow. Graphic courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.

To our south in states like Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama, an outbreak of severe weather is possible. Thunderstorms with high winds and possibly tornadoes could cause flight delays and poor driving conditions tomorrow afternoon and evening. Although it's easy to get into the mindset that it is late December and severe weather normally doesn't happen, it very well could happen tomorrow if you are travelling in the Ohio Valley through the South.

So if you are travelling locally or within the state, be prepared for wet roadways at times and allow some extra time to get to your destination. If you are travelling south into the area of possible severe weather, drive with caution and be prepared to stop and seek shelter from severe weather. If you have flight plans, in this region -- including to major airports like Atlanta and Nashville -- keep watch of your flight status as delays are a good possibility.