"Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go. The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through the white and drifting snow …"

Well, not exactly. The National Weather Service said it won't quite be a white Thanksgiving, and what the Twin Cities metro area will get is likely to be gone by the weekend.

There is, actually, a 30 percent chance of snow on Turkey Day afternoon, increasing to a 50 percent chance by nightfall, said weather service forecaster Tony Zaleski. Accumulation will top out at close to three-tenths of an inch or maybe a half-inch, he said.

On Friday, it's going to be mostly cloudy, then clearing overnight.

Then the snow will melt. Highs in the upper 30s are predicted for Saturday and in the 40s for Sunday, with a 50 percent chance of rain on Sunday.

If you're flying on Thursday, get to the airport early. Thanksgiving Day is in the top 10 busiest travel days of the year, said airport spokesman Patrick Hogan. Some 110,000 to 120,000 people will depart and arrive at the terminals. Sunday it'll be the same.

But Thanksgiving Day isn't the all-out busiest day at the airport, Hogan said. More people fly in and out on the school-recess weekend formerly known as MEA, and some peak summer periods can have more travelers.

If there's bad weather, airport crews and equipment will be ready. More than 100 crew members were out Tuesday dealing with the slush, freezing rain and snow, Hogan said. He doesn't expect anything similar over the holiday.

Pat Pheifer