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Winter weather impacts holiday travel rush


Most people traveling for the year-end holidays are expected to drive, according to AAA.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Millions of Americans hit the roads or hopped on a plane to make it to their holiday destinations on Friday. Some arrived late or not all, because of wintry conditions across the U.S. and close to home.

“You never know what to expect in Virginia. Sometimes you get good weather, sometimes you get bad weather. So, you’ve always got to be prepared,” said Moses Franklin, a Newport News resident. 

Franklin was among many drivers Friday evening, who traveled during “peak time” on the roads. The worst time to travel was between 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the day before Christmas Eve, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).

Before heading to Richmond, Franklin spoke with 13News Now at a gas station. “I’m going to expect it to be very windy, probably a lot of traffic, too,” he said. “Just trying to get there safe.”

And leaders with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) want others to do the same. Crews are standing by this holiday weekend, according to Nina Ullrich, a VDOT spokesperson. 

“As the temperatures are dropping across the state, this is really a complex storm,” said Ullrich. She encouraged drivers to bundle up, take it slow and keep both hands on the wheel.

Friday’s strong winds in Hampton Roads —  some up to 60 mph — worried VDOT.

“We know there are a lot of cones and barrels that we see while driving. And so, a lot of those have been lifted and those that can’t be lifted and the ones that can’t be lifted have been very, very secured down,” said Ullrich.

Leaders also reduced speed limits on major bridges, such as the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, James River Bridge, and Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel.

Airline travelers also felt the weather’s impacts. Display boards at Norfolk International Airport showed some flight cancellations and delays.

13News Now meteorologists are forecasting high temperatures only reaching the 20s and 30s on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, respectively.

And while snow and widespread freezing are not expected this weekend, VDOT’s Ullrich offered the following advice. 

“If you are seeing road spots that are wet, just assume that it’s ice. Slow down, make sure you have plenty of following-distance in the car in front of you,” she said. “Also to make sure you have an emergency kit in your car.”

Moreover, forecasters with AAA predict nearly 101 million Americans will drive for the holidays this year, which is 2 million more than last year. They project 14% more passengers booked flights this holiday season, when compared to 2021.

HOLIDAY TRAVEL ON THE ROADS | Today’s peak rush is expected to last until 7 p.m., according to AAA.

And this time around in Hampton Roads, some gusty winds are thrown into the mix.

How will you be traveling to your holiday destination? @13NewsNow

— Angelique Arintok 13News Now (@13AArintok) December 23, 2022

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Originally Appeared Here

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