Rain, Then Wind: Thanksgiving Holiday Travelers to Face Difficult Conditions

A High Wind Watch takes effect Wednesday morning and continues through Wednesday afternoon with gusts up to 60 mph possible

Thanksgiving holiday travelers beware: damaging winds, rain and even snow are all possible in the days ahead - and not just in Chicago. 

According to the latest forecast from the NBC 5 Storm Team, it all begins Tuesday as a low pressure system is expected to bring wet weather into the area, with steady rain and possibly even a thunderstorm during the afternoon and evening. Should storms develop, there is a chance some could become strong to severe with a brief isolated tornado possible in southern counties. 

The rain and storms will likely come to an end overnight but things will get even more treacherous Wednesday as holiday travel begins in earnest. Temperatures are expected to drop back into the 40s but the real threat will quickly begin to emerge: "storm force winds," some of which could exceed 50 mph, according to forecast models.

A High Wind Watch takes effect Wednesday morning and continues through Wednesday afternoon with gusts up to 60 mph possible. 

The windy conditions could have a significant impact on air travel, as one of the busiest travel days of the year will be affected by the rough conditions.

About a quarter of Denver International Airport's 1,500 flights on Tuesday were canceled, and airport officials said more cancellations are likely.

Meanwhile, areas like Minnesota, Wisconsin and upper Michigan will also see snow in the system.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area could see its biggest November snowfall in nearly a decade, and travel is northwestern Wisconsin is going to be chaotic," said National Weather Service meteorologist Brent Hewett.

This month, AAA predicted that the number of travelers over a five-day stretch starting Wednesday will be the second-highest, behind only 2005, despite rising costs for a road trip.

Winds should begin to calm on Thanksgiving, with mostly cloudy skies and highs in the upper-30s and low-40s, but another round is expected heading into the weekend. 

More rain is expected throughout the holiday weekend, with the potential for accumulating snow by Sunday as highs dip into the upper-30s ahead of what's expected to be another cold week. 

For all the latest details on the Thanksgiving forecast, be sure to keep an eye on the NBC Chicago app.

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