National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

What’s the Weather Normally Like on Thanksgiving?

As we all know, Thanksgiving Day is the fourth Thursday in November. This has been true since Congress passed a resolution in 1941 declaring such. Before this time, Thanksgiving was typically celebrated on the last Thursday of the month. This year Thanksgiving falls on November 28th.

We analyzed every Thanksgiving Day in our records in Atlanta, Athens, Columbus, and Macon to see what the weather has been for this holiday in our area. Refer to the chart below to see Thanksgiving averages and extremes for our climate sites.

Thanksgiving Climatology

Severe weather is quite rare on Thanksgiving in our region. There are no recorded severe weather events on Thanksgiving Day in our County Warning Area since 1950. The nearest severe weather reports for Thanksgiving Day occurred in Early County in southwest Georgia on November 23, 1961, when an F-2 tornado downed trees and destroyed some outbuildings. Additionally, heavy rain was reported in Habersham and Rabun Counties in northeast Georgia on Thanksgiving on November 25th, 1999.

November 1950 Arctic Outbreak:

As a side note, one of the more interesting weather events to occur near Thanksgiving was the Arctic air outbreak of 1950. This impacted Georgia a couple of days after Thanksgiving, bringing all-time record low November temperatures to much of the country. Thanksgiving Day was November 23rd that year. By November 25th, a strong Arctic cold front had pushed through the eastern U.S.

Record cold temperatures from this event are as follows:

1950 was cold

This cold air was associated with a powerful storm system that caused hurricane force winds and significant wind damage in the northeastern United States as well as blizzard conditions in much of the Appalachian Mountain region. In Georgia, light snowfall totals were recorded, with 0.2” of snow occurring at Macon, and a trace of snow reported in Atlanta, Columbus, and Macon on November 25th.