Residents of the north east have been warned to brace for heavy rainfall and storms as Memorial Day weekend kicks off – but balmy 90F weather should appear by Sunday.
It comes as 39 million Americans hit the road to celebrate the start of the long weekend, which is the official start of the summer.
Heavy storms are expected to drop an inch of rain an hour in some areas and are expected to cause low visibility on highways and could potentially cause flooding.
Stormy conditions are also expected to bring wind gusts, hail, and isolated tornadoes on Friday evening and tornado watches are already in-place in Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland.
Drier weather is expected to hit on Sunday with temperatures ranging from 60s to 90s throughout Memorial Day weekend.
Despite the warm weather, beachgoers can expect chilly water temperatures, which are expected to be in the 50s in some areas, according to Accuweather.
This map shows how much of the North East will enjoy balmy weather Sunday. The mercury could nudge 90f in and around Pittsburgh
The holiday itself is expected to have beautiful weather, ranging from the 80s to 90s in some areas – perfect for ballgames and picnics.
It isn’t good news for everyone though.
Conditions could deteriorate for the northern central part of the US throughout most of the weekend, according to Accuweather.
The Midwest and the Rockies, however, can predict dry weather rolling through over the weekend with some low-elevation showers.
‘A pair of storms will push inland over the Northwest with low-elevations showers and also mountain snow showers this weekend,’ Meteorologist Bill Deger said.
The Dakotas, Nebraska, and Minnesota can also expected thunderstorms and severe weather on Saturday, while the northern central part of the US will see it on Sunday and Monday.
Even with rainy weather ahead, roughly 39million Americans are estimate to hit the road and the air for the long weekend, boosting travel up 8.3 percent from last year and is back up to 2017 levels. Three million are expected to fly.
‘Motorists should anticipate delays in much of the East into Saturday in the Northeast and not only from increased traffic volume on the roads but also due to areas of torrential downpours,’ Accuweather meteorologist Tony Zartman said.
Virginia drivers faced heavy traffic on Friday as an estimated 39million are expected to travel this Memorial Day weekend
A Denver airport was bustling on Thursday as flyer prepare for a fun-filled weekend. An estimated 3million are expected to fly this weekend
Alongside rainy weather, the millions of travelers are expected to hit steep gas prices, which have reached an average of $4.60 nationally – 47 cents more than just a month ago.
More than 3million people are also expected to fly between Thursday and Monday, despite return ticket prices up nearly 40percent from the same time last year.
TSA warned that there might be more travelers than before the pandemic.
Rising gas and flight prices coincide with a COVID-19 surge that has led to case counts that are as high as they’ve been since mid-February.
The true case numbers are likely much higher because of unreported positive home test results and asymptomatic infections.
Gas prices in California topped $6 but across the country it was on average $4.60 per gallon as motorists continue to be stung at the bowser
The average gas price in the U.S. on Thursday was $4.60 per gallon, according to AAA figure
In California – despite being home to the nation’s highest gas prices – the state’s nonprofit tourism agency also predicts a busy summer for the Golden State, beginning this weekend.
For Marvin Harper, of Phoenix, his family’s weekend travel plans are a double punch to the wallet.
His college-age son and daughter each have a soccer tournament in Southern California and Colorado, respectively.
He and his daughter will fly to Denver, rather than drive, because of the cost of fuel, while his wife and son will go to California in her SUV.
‘My mother-in-law’s going with my wife and son to split that cost because it’s just too much on our household,’ said Harper, as he filled up the tank of his truck at a Phoenix QuikTrip.
‘We can’t afford both of us to drive. That’s the bottom line…Gas prices are killing our household.’
For some, that’s exactly what’s caused them to rethink their holiday plans, making them opt for a staycation in their backyard to limit the damage to their wallets.
Laura Dena and her sons would typically go to Southern California around Memorial Day weekend to escape Arizona’s scorching heat. This year, because it takes at least $100 to fill up her truck, they’re staying home.
‘It’s really frustrating,’ said Dena while waiting in line in 90-degree heat for a pump at a Costco in Phoenix.
‘It’s upsetting, but there’s not much we can do. We have to pay the price.’
Visit California’s spokesperson Ryan Becker said his agency is seeing a lot of ‘pent-up demand’ because of the pandemic: ‘I want to get out, I want to travel. I’ve had to put my anniversary trip on hold, I’ve had to put my 40th birthday trip on hold.’
Outdoorsy, an online rental marketplace for RVs and camper vans, is noticing that its renters have changed their plans over the course of the pandemic.
About 88percent of those 39.2 million travelers – a record number – are expected to go by car over the long weekend even as gas prices remain high, according to AAA
Gas prices have been steadily rising before peaking as many retailers refuse to purchase Russian oil because of its invasion of Ukraine
Travelers queue up for shuttle buses to nearby rental car agencies outside the main terminal of Denver International Airport Thursday, May 26, 2022, in Denver
Early on, people would rent an RV to travel cross-country safely to visit family. Now, they’re back to using the RVs as a cost-effective way for a vacation tethered to nature.
‘I think everyone needs a vacation, I really do,’ Outdoorsy co-founder Jen Young said. ‘Have we ever lived through a more stressful, challenging – mentally and physically and spiritually – time in our lives?’
Others shrugged off the stress of the added travel costs because it’s out of their control.
At a Chevron station in the Glassell Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, Ricardo Estrada tried to guess how much the $6.49 a gallon price would cost him in total for his Nissan work van.
‘I’ll go with between 60 and 70 bucks,’ the heating and air-conditioning technician speculated, eyeing the display as the price went up and up.
Estrada – just missing his guess when the pump registered $71.61 for 11 gallons of regular-grade – has been forced to raise his business fees for customers to overcome the gas prices.
He’ll be working over the holiday weekend but has a vacation planned in Arizona next month. He’s flying, but only because of convenience, not cost.
But with airline ticket prices up, too – AAA found that the average lowest airfare for this weekend is 6percent higher than last year – that’s not a sure bet, either.