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November 25, 2013

Weather likely to affect Thanksgiving travel

Region could see 3 inches of rain tomorrow

The day before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel days of the year. This year, another element will be coming into play — weather.

The National Weather Service is predicting torrential rain throughout the day tomorrow, with totals possibly reaching 3 inches.

“It should be all liquid precipitation in the southern part of the state,” said Mike Kistner, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “But the wind will be strong. We could get up to 50-mph gusts of wind by midday (tomorrow).”

The weather could deter some people from traveling tomorrow, but fewer people were already projected to travel.

Pat Moody, spokesman for AAA of Northern New England, said AAA projects 43.4 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. That is down 1.5 percent from last year.

“Even though the economy is improving, its sluggish pace can create some uncertainty,” Moody said. “You add in the unfriendly weather and that may factor in a larger decrease.”

He said the weather likely wouldn’t prevent people from taking their trips, but rather cause them to work around it.

“It’s not going to be about whether to go or not,” he said. “Instead, it will impact when exactly they leave.”

AAA estimates 37 percent of all travelers will be leaving tomorrow, the highest number any day this week. Sunday is the heaviest traveled return day, with 33 percent of travelers expected to be on the road then.

New Hampshire State Police Lt. Gary Wood said there will be extra patrols on the road, starting tomorrow.

“We expect heavy traffic on all of our major arteries from Wednesday through Sunday,” he said. “With bad weather expected on Wednesday, the road conditions could get dangerous.”

State police will also keep an eye out for impaired drivers.

“They seem to be more frequent during the holiday time of the year compared to other times,” Wood said. “We want everyone to get to their destination safely.”

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