Inclement weather could affect Thanksgiving travel

3.4 million drivers are expected to take to New York State roads
Nick Magina of Saratoga Springs shovels his driveway and sidewalk on Friday. More inclement weather could affect travael.
Nick Magina of Saratoga Springs shovels his driveway and sidewalk on Friday. More inclement weather could affect travael.

Families traveling for Thanksgiving should not only prepare for traffic, but also for inclement weather.

After approximately 2 to 4 inches of snow fell on Tuesday, there is expected to be more snowfall for Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Albany. Even though there is only expected to be less than a inch of snowfall, Meteorologist Kevin Lipton said there could still be issues with visibility while driving.

This is because snow squalls are forecast for Wednesday. Lipton said a squall is defined as a quick, heavy burst of snow for a period of approximately 5 to 10 minutes.

“It reduces visibility and causes roadways to become snow covered or icy very quickly,” he said.

The snow is forecast to fall on a day when traffic is expected to be “extremely heavy,” said Eric Stigberg, spokesman for AAA Northway,

“I think in terms of traffic times, anywhere you’re headed, it’s going to take a little longer to get to,” Stigberg said, adding it will be even longer if people travel to cities like New York City or Boston. “It will be even worse if you’re travelling at the busiest time, which is any time during the evening during rush hour.”

Stigberg said there is expected to be 54.3 million motorists on the road nationwide during the Thanksgiving holiday week, with 3.4 million of them travelling in New York. That’s up from the 3.25 million drivers who were on the road in the state last year, according to Stigberg.

Stigberg cautioned drivers to avoid driving during inclement weather.

“Certainly, weather this time of year can be unpredictable,” Stigberg siad. “It’s approaching winter and drivers ought to be prepared for those situations.”

There isn’t expected to be any snow for Thanksgiving Day, but it’s only expected to get into the low 20s during the afternoon with windchill keeping temperatures in the single digits, according to Lipton.

“It’s probably going to be one of the colder ones on record,” said Meteorologist Brian Frugis.

In 2014, Frugis said, temperatures reached a high of 32 degrees and that there was 1.6 inches of snowfall in the Capital Region. In 2000, temperatures reached a high of 27 degrees.

The coldest Thanksgiving on record, according to Frugis, was in 1901, when temperatures only reached a high of 19 degrees.

Lipton said the sun will come out on Friday, but it will remain cold as  temperatures are forecast to stay in the 20s.

On Saturday, temperatures are expected to reach the upper 30s, with rain or a wintery mix that could lead into Sunday, Lipton said.

Frugis said temperatures are expected to reach the low 40s on Sunday.

Lipton suggested Thursday and Fridays should be the best days to travel.

In one bright spot for the holiday week, Stigberg said gas prices have gone down an average of 10 cents nationwide.

“We started to see them go down over the last month or so,” he said.

Stigber also reminded drivers to make sure their cars are in good condition. He said AAA expects to help approximately 15,000 drivers throughout the state with car problems during the holiday.

“It’s always a good idea to have your car looked at by a certified mechanic to make sure it’s in tip top shape and ready to go,” Stigberg said.

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