A massive winter storm is expected to hit the Northeast and Midwest next week, with heavy rain and snowfall debilitating travel plans for Thanksgiving for tens of millions of Americans, after last year many skipped family gatherings for the holiday because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the warning of the Weather Prediction Center of the National Weather Service, the upcoming snowstorm is classified as “potentially significant.”

Inclement weather all over Midwest and Northeast

The storm is forecast to form on Sunday in the central plains and make its way northeast dumping heavy snowfall on Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin before reaching Canada.

The region from Northern Indiana and Michigan all the way to Maryland on the East Coast could see “heavy accumulations” as a result of the storm.

Jon Porter, the chief meteorologist at AccuWeather, said what’s coming could be a “huge mess” as well as a “real wrench” in Thanksgiving travel.

The same storm is also forecast to cause heavy rainfall on the northern East Coast between Boston and New York on Monday and Tuesday, as well as in Chicago.

That could even result in flooding, which would disrupt ground travel, according to AccuWeather.

A report by The Washington Post says that, regardless of the storm, there will be a substantial drop in temperatures – of 15-20 degrees – by Tuesday and Wednesday, which would bring the coldest weather this fall in the southeastern states.

The Northwest, and more specifically Washington State, has already been affected by floods due to torrential rains lasting for the past few days.

In the town of Sumas, Washington, which is near the border with Canada, three-quarters of the homes have suffered water damage, with hundreds of people evacuated.

In Ferndale, Washington, officials told people to evacuate because of the rising level of the Nooksack River.

An atmospheric river over the Pacific Ocean and the states of Oregon and Washington caused the torrential rains.

Brace for travel issues

According to the American Automobile Association, about 53.4 million Americans are expected to travel for the Thanksgiving holidays.

That is still 5% fewer than the number of Americans who traveled for Thanksgiving back in 2019, right before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the 4.2 million who are expected to fly might face problems traveling due to staffing issues of the TSA and recent problems at American and Southwest Airlines.

AAA warned those traveling by plane to be ready for long lines and to make sure they have extra time for checks by the Transportation Security Administration.

According to TSA administrator David Pekoske, precisely Thanksgiving is the busiest time of the year for the administration.