WASHINGTON, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Rain, snow, sleet and ice is expected across much of the central United States on Thanksgiving Day, prompting travel warnings on one of the busiest travel days of the year.
Snow and ice are expected from the Rockies to the central Plains, while heavy rain and storms will sweep across the Gulf Coast to the Ohio Valley including Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, the National Weather Service said. Already winter storms have dumped more than a foot of snow in some parts of the Pacific Northwest.
At the same time, a late-season hurricane is expected to make landfall in Mexico on Thursday. Hurricane Sandra, a Category 4 with 145 mph winds, was located near Cabo San Lucas and is expected to move to Texas in the coming days.
"We're currently in the first phase of a long-lived storm system -- a Pacific storm purely working with Pacific moisture bringing snow to a number of mountain ranges," weather.com senior meteorologist Nick Wiltgen said. "Later this week, when the storm gets to the Plains, it will intercept Gulf of Mexico moisture and that's when it will become a much messier storm with accumulating ice entering the picture."
Winter storm warnings are in effect for states that include Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa, Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Some of the conditions are worse than others:
The National Weather Service in Pocatello, located in the foothills of the Rockies, said "treacherous" travel weather cause multiple vehicles to slide off the road on Interstate 15.
The Fort Worth area is expecting flash flooding from a severe storm that will sweep across the area. About two dozen flood and winter storm watches have been posted for counties across some of Texas. Some areas will see up seven inches of rain with gusty winds and temperatures in the 40s. Others have winter storm warnings posted for expected "significant" amounts of snow, sleet and ice.
The California Department of Transportation reported tire chains are required on all vehicles in some parts of the state as snowfall totals reached a foot in some mountainous areas. The higher elevations were also seeing strong wind gusts.