HomeOutdoorsWeatherHow Tornadoes Wrecked Not Only Homes, but Thanksgiving Travel Plans

How Tornadoes Wrecked Not Only Homes, but Thanksgiving Travel Plans

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Much of the United States enjoyed relatively mild weather ahead of and during the Thanksgiving holiday. However, tornadoes and other severe weather in the days after the annual feast not only wrecked homes across the Southeast; it also wrecked millions of Americans’ travel plans as they began to head home following the holiday.

Many Ameicans spent a long weekend eating and Black Friday shopping. Afterward, though, millions of them became stuck after severe storms Monday night forced the delays and cancelations of more than 4,500 flights. These included flights within, into, and out of the U.S. USA Today reports these delays and cancelations came after nearly 7,000 flights were delayed on Sunday. The outlet states the Sunday following Thanksgiving also represents one of the busiest travel days of the year.

The outlet’s report is significant as AAA expected 54.6 million people to be traveling 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving. That total represents a 1.5% increase from last year and 98% of pre-pandemic levels.

As people began heading home after Thanksgiving, Alabama and its neighbors were not the only U.S. states facing tornado threats.

Heavy rains and thunderstorms across the South and snow across the Pacific Northwest wreaked havoc on Thanksgiving travel. By Tuesday, 30 million people across the Central U.S. were expected to see severe weather as well. Meteorologists expected high winds and tornadoes to affect states including Illinois, Indiana, and Texas following Thanksgiving celebrations. They reported storms to reach anywhere between 60 and 70 miles per hour, with gusts reaching a dangerous 85 miles per hour.

Before tornadoes ravaged the Southeast Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, AccuWeather’s Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said, “We are fairly confident that there will be multiple tornadoes on the ground. People should take this threat seriously.”

Two Fatalities Confirmed Amid Tornadoes Following Thanksgiving Holiday

While a cold front brought severe weather to multiple U.S. states following the Thanksgiving holiday, the Southeast bore the brunt of tornado damage. In fact, damage was so severe in certain areas across Alabama that two fatalities were confirmed Wednesday morning. A third person was reported injured.

By Wednesday morning, the Storm Prediction Center received at least 30 reports of tornadoes across the South. Officials report both Alabama fatalities occurred in the Flatwood area near Montgomery, the state’s capital.

Montgomery County’s Emergency Management Director, Christina Thornton, spoke out about the loss of life following the tornadoes that impacted the state on Wednesday morning. Speaking with news outlets, she said, “We pray for our community as we mourn this tragic loss of lives.”

Amid reports of damage and loss of life, though, Thornton also took a moment to address the region’s first responders. She said, “Thanks to the heroic efforts of our first responders many other lives were saved.”