Clear skies, clogged roads ahead for busy Thanksgiving holiday

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Travelers in North Carolina should be greeted with sunny skies, cheap gas and heavy roads this Thanksgiving.

Other the parts of the rest of the country may be headed for less comfortable weather, however, with snow even expected in parts of the Western United States.Travel Forecast

Overall, AAA expects this to be the most traveled Thanksgiving week since 2007, led in part by low gas prices.

Temperatures on Friday in central North Carolina could approach 70 degrees as shoppers head out for Black Friday sales, according to WNCN Meteorologist Alyssa Corfont.

Weather up and down the East Coast looks pleasant, WNCN’s Corfont said.

But if you are flying from North Carolina or driving for the holiday, the middle part of the United States could have some rain Wednesday. Across Texas and Oklahoma, there could be rain and even a few storms.

The NBC affiliate in Dallas is calling for a 30 percent chance of rain on Wednesday and a 60 percent chance of rain on Thursday.

The Pacific Northwest could have snow for the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  KSL in Salt Lake City is predicting a high of 34 and a low of 24 for Thursday, with a strong chance of snow.

Travel could be difficult through northern California into the Dakotas, down through the Four Corners region as well.

Gas prices are down this year
Man gets gas in Raleigh on Monday.

The holiday comes at a time of low gas prices. The average price for a gallon of regular gas in North Carolina is $2.04 per gallon, according to that’s 71 cents cheaper than a year ago. The lowest price in Raleigh is $1.86 per gallon.

On Monday, many drivers were taking advantage of the sub-$2 gas on South Saunders Street in Raleigh.

“It’s pretty wild,” said Drew Tucker. “I usually pay $2.15 or $2.20 a gallon.”

“I think more people will get out on the road and I think people will be spending more around Thanksgiving and Christmas because of the gas prices,” said Dwight High.

AAA Carolinas expects 1.3 million North Carolinians to travel at least 50 miles during the Thanksgiving holiday. The North Carolina Department of Transportation is putting most construction projects on hold from Wednesday through Sunday. More State Highway Patrolmen will be out.

Nationally, AAA expects 46.9 million people to travel at least 50 miles this Thanksgiving, up 300,000 over last year and the most since 2007. AAA said 42 million Americans could be driving.

Airfares are down about 10 percent this Thanksgiving.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport expects to be extremely busy with 30,000 passengers in and out of the airport on Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday.

RDU International Airport
RDU International Airport

“We expect about 5 percent more travelers this Thanksgiving holiday season compared to last year so it’s going to be very busy,” said Mindy Hamlin, director of communications and community affairs at RDU. “But we have a lot of people here to assist our customers. The TSA will have all their security screening checkpoints open so things should move smoothly as long as people give themselves enough time.”

Those who do fly will face tighter security at airports in light of the Paris terrorist attacks. Officials at Raleigh-Durham International Airport have advised passengers to arrive two hours ahead of their flight.

Late Monday, The U.S. Department of State issued a worldwide travel alert due to the increase of terrorist threats. This alert lasts until Feb. 24, 2016.


WNCN’s David Hurst contributed to this report.


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