Weather Watch: Colorado should have smooth Thanksgiving travel
November 24, 2013
If you don't want to see a lot of snow for the kickoff to the holiday season, you've got something to be thankful for this week.
The National Weather Service predicts mild weather for Northwest Colorado for turkey week, a trend that will take place over most of the state. The past weekend saw a great deal of heavy winter activity across New Mexico, reaching into southwestern and parts of central Colorado.
Travis Booth, a meteorologist with NWS's Grand Junction office, said the storm system is expected to progress eastward toward the plains states.
"That'll allow a ridge of high pressure to build, and that will pretty much dominate the weather through Thanksgiving at least," he said.
A gradual warm-up is likely, with daytime temperatures staying in the high 30s to low 40s for Craig through Saturday. Other parts of the state will see readings go even higher, with Denver's highs getting up to the mid-50s by the end of the week.
Booth said travel conditions should be favorable for those taking to the roads in Colorado for the holidays.
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According to a press release issued by AAA Colorado, the busiest day of the Thanksgiving week is Wednesday, with 37 percent of surveyed travelers embarking that day and 33 percent returning Sunday.
The organization estimated that 721,000 residents of the state will travel more than 50 miles, with 87 percent of them driving to their destinations. Within Colorado, the Thanksgiving holiday has the highest amount of travelers compared to other high-travel occasions like Labor Day and Independence Day, with 14.1 percent of the state populace expected to travel significant distances this year, though this is a 0.8 percent decrease from last year.
AAA's data also showed that Thanksgiving fuel prices are at their lowest since 2010, with the state average of $3.19 per gallon of gasoline at its cheapest in nine months.
Average prices for flights and hotels are about the same as 2012, with the expected average daily rate for car rentals up slightly from $47 to $50.
Although the weather conditions throughout the week may be good news for Colorado residents intending to visit family and friends or otherwise leaving home, it may be better to come back sooner rather than later.
"There are hints of a possible system coming in later in the weekend or early next week, so that's something to keep in mind," Booth said.