DETROIT (WWJ) - Whether by plane, train or automobile, millions of Americans are expected to travel to their Thanksgiving destinations this week -- but weather experts warn big problems could be in store.
According to AccuWeather, a large storm with the threat of heavy rain, snow and gusty winds is expected to take shape and affect multiple states -- including Michigan -- before, during and even after the holiday.
"Airline passengers and motorists in Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Cleveland can expect drenching rain to begin sometime Monday night, with a thorough soaking expected on Tuesday," AccuWeather meteorologists warned. "There is even the chance that just enough cold air will be around on the northwestern flank of the storm to allow snow to mix in from parts of northern Illinois and Wisconsin to northern Michigan."
While officials said the rain will move out of the Great Lakes region by Wednesday, gusty crosswinds will continue and possibly cause trouble at some area airports.
"Crosswinds may force officials to allow extra landing and takeoff time for aircraft, which requires extra aircraft spacing on approach or even a holding pattern when winds kick up," AccuWeather meteorologists explained.
Wind gusts can reach 30 to 40 mph and perhaps as high as 50 mph.
Michiganders that are driving to their destinations prior to Thanksgiving Day can expect trouble on the highways as well, as the rain will not only lead to wet roads, but long stretches of the Interstate 80, 81 and 95 corridors could experience ponding and raise the risk of vehicles hydroplaning.
During the high volumes of traffic expected, the reduced visibility and wet conditions can create dangerous conditions for nearly 50 million motorists expected to take to the road around Thanksgiving, AccuWeather warned.
Behind the storm, much colder air is expected to arrive and create the chance for bands of lake-effect snow to develop. While the forecast is still developing, AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jon Porter said it is a "concerning setup" for all travelers near the Great Lakes as the risk for lake-effect snow showers and squalls is poorly timed when so many people are on the road.
"We recommend people check back frequently with the AccuWeather forecast over the coming days, especially if they have any travel plans around the Thanksgiving holiday near the Great Lakes," Porter said.