Driving somewhere for Thanksgiving? Busy roads, cheap gas, very cold temps

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Clear roads, full tanks, can't lose.

That's your mantra for Thanksgiving road ventures this week. No big snow will fall, gas will be cheap, and temps – while a bit cold – won't reach unbearable lows. Here's a look at what to expect if you're behind the wheel for awhile on Turkey Day.

Little to no snow ...

Driving around the region shouldn't be a problem Thursday, BringMeTheNews meteorologist Jerrid Sebesta say, as no snowfall is forecast for Turkey Day itself.

The day prior could be a pain though. Sebesta says the Twin Cities region could get 1-2 inches of snow Wednesday, making any driving during the morning or daytime a bit hairy. The southwest and southern portions of the state could see 2-4 inches.

Thursday should be dry however, with a bit more snow possible Friday morning (if you're on the road then).

... but bundle up

Even though not much snow is likely, it'll be pretty cold. MPR's Paul Huttner says it could even be the coldest Thanksgiving in 25 years.

Here's a look at the Thanksgiving Day forecast (from the NOAA) for some areas of the state:

  • Twin Cities – Sunny, with a high of 15 during the day, with a low of 9 that night. There's a 20 percent chance of light snow in the evening.
  • Duluth – A very light wind, but sunny with a high of 15 degrees. Snow Thursday evening is a 40 percent possibility, with a low of 9 degrees.
  • St. Cloud – A high of 12 degrees, but sunny. A 30 percent chance of snow that night. Low could dip to 5 degrees.
  • Moorhead – Chilly, with temps likely reaching 11 degrees max. The low is 8, with a 50-50 chance of snow at night.
  • Marshall – Cold but no snow. A high of 14 Thanksgiving Day, partly sunny, falling to 10 degrees at night.

A lot of cars on the road

According to AAA, 46.3 million American will travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving – and most of them will be in cars.

More than 89 percent of travelers (that's 41.3 million) will travel by automobile. That's a 4.3 percent increase from the 39.6 million who hit the road last year.

Google has some advice: Don't drive Wednesday as it will likely be the worst day to drive. But if you have to go that day, leave before 2 p.m. or after 7 p.m. And avoid 3-5 p.m.

Gas will be cheap at least

The average price of a gallon of gas in Minnesota Tuesday was $2.71 a gallon, according to the AAA fuel gauge report. That's down 10 cents from a week ago and 38 cents from a month ago. Last year at this time it was $3.07 for a gallon.

Minnesota's average is well below the national number of $2.82 a gallon. It is the first time the country's average has been below $3 a gallon since December of 2010.

Breaking it down by region, gas is cheapest up north. Duluth's average price is $2.58 a gallon, the lowest of the four major metro regions.

"Lower prices are increasing disposable income and enabling families to carve out more money from household budgets for travel this Thanksgiving,” AAA executive Marshall L. Doney said in a news release.

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