Northeast braces for up to an inch of rain an hour and stormy conditions as Memorial Day kicks off
Residents of the Northeast have been warned to prepare for heavy rain and storms as Memorial Day weekend begins, but warm 90F weather should set in on Sunday.
Most of the severe weather is expected to hit Friday night and early Saturday across the Northeast, as far south as Maryland and as far north as Maine.
It comes as 39 million Americans hit the road to celebrate the start of the long weekend, which is the official start of summer.
Severe storms are expected to drop an inch of rain per hour in some areas and cause poor visibility on roads and could cause flooding.
Stormy conditions are also expected to bring gusty winds, hail and isolated tornadoes Friday night, with tornado watches already in place in Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland.
Drier weather is expected to arrive Sunday with temperatures hovering in the 60s to 90s over Memorial Day weekend.
Despite the warm weather, beachgoers can expect cool water temperatures, which are expected to be in the 50s in some areas, according to Accuweather.
This map shows how much of the Northeast will enjoy mild weather on Sunday. Mercury could push 90f in and around Pittsburgh
The vacation itself is expected to have beautiful weather, hovering in the 80s and 90s in some areas, perfect for ball games and picnics.
However, this is not good news for everyone.
Conditions could deteriorate for the north central US through most of the weekend, according to accuweather.
However, the Midwest and Rocky Mountains can forecast dry weather through the weekend with some low-level showers.
“A couple of storms will push inland over the northwest with low-level showers and also snow showers in the mountains this weekend,” said meteorologist Bill Deger.
The Dakotas, Nebraska and Minnesota can also expect thunderstorms and severe weather on Saturday, while the north central part of the US will see it on Sunday and Monday.
Even with rainy weather ahead, an estimated 39 million Americans will hit the road and fly over the long weekend, increasing travel by 8.3 percent from last year and returning to 2017 levels. Three million are expected to fly.
“Motorists should expect delays across much of the east through Saturday in the Northeast and not only because of increased traffic volumes on highways, but also because of areas of torrential downpours,” Accuweather Meteorologist Tony Zartman said.
Virginia drivers faced heavy traffic Friday as 39 million are expected to travel this Memorial Day weekend
A Denver airport was packed with people Thursday as passengers geared up for a fun-filled weekend. About 3 million are expected to fly this weekend
Coupled with the rainy weather, the millions of commuters are expected to hit high gas prices, which have reached an average of $4.60 nationally – 47 cents more than just a month ago.
In California, gas prices topped $6 as many retailers refuse to buy Russian oil due to the Ukraine invasion.
More than 3 million people are also expected to fly between Thursday and Monday, despite return ticket prices rising nearly 40 percent from the same period last year.
TSA warned that there could be more travelers than before the pandemic.
The rise in gas and flight prices coincides with a surge in COVID-19 that has brought the number of cases as high as it has been since mid-February.
The actual numbers of cases are likely to be much higher due to unreported positive home test results and asymptomatic infections.
Gas prices in California topped $6, but across the country it was averaging $4.60 a gallon as motorists continue to get stung at the Bowser.
Average US gas price on Thursday was $4.60 a gallon, according to AAA figure
In California, despite having the highest gas prices in the country, the state’s nonprofit tourism agency is also forecasting a busy summer for the Golden State, beginning this weekend.
For Marvin Harper of Phoenix, his family’s weekend travel plans are a one-two 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, instead of driving, due to the cost of fuel, while his wife and son will go to California in their truck.
“My mother-in-law goes with my wife and son to split that cost because it’s too much for our household,” said Harper, as he filled his truck on a Phoenix QuikTrip.
We can’t afford to drive both of us. That’s the bottom line… Gas prices are killing our home.’
For some, that’s exactly what made them rethink their vacation plans, making them opt for a backyard vacation to limit the damage to their wallets.
Laura Dena and her children used to go to Southern California around Memorial Day weekend to escape the scorching Arizona heat. This year, since it takes at least $100 to fill up their truck, they will stay home.
“It’s really frustrating,” Dena said as she waited in line in 90-degree heat for a bomb at a Costco in Phoenix.
It’s annoying, but there’s not much we can do. We have to pay the price.
Visit California spokesman Ryan Becker said his agency is seeing a lot of “pent-up demand” due to the pandemic: “I want to go out, I want to travel.” I had to postpone my anniversary trip, I had to postpone my 40th birthday trip.
Outdoorsy, an online rental marketplace for RVs and campers, has noticed that its renters have changed their plans during the course of the pandemic.
About 88 percent of those 39.2 million travelers, a record number, are expected to drive over the long weekend, even as gas prices remain high, according to AAA.
Gasoline prices have been rising steadily before peaking as many retailers refuse to buy Russian oil due to its invasion of Ukraine.
Travelers line up for shuttle buses to nearby car rental agencies outside the main terminal at Denver International Airport on Thursday, May 26, 2022, in Denver.
In the beginning, people would rent an RV to travel safely across the country to visit family. Now, they have returned to using recreational vehicles as a profitable way to spend a vacation in contact with nature.
“I think everyone needs a vacation, they really do,” said Outdoorsy co-founder Jen Young. ‘Have we ever experienced a more stressful and challenging time, mentally, physically and spiritually, in our lives?’
Others shrugged off the stress of additional 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 tag for his Nissan work truck would cost him in total.
“I’m going for $60 to $70,” the HVAC technician speculated, watching the screen as the price went up and up.
Estrada, who couldn’t guess when the pump clocked in at $71.61 for 11 gallons of regular grade, has been forced to raise his business rates to get customers to beat gas prices.
He’ll be working over the holiday weekend, but he’s planning a vacation to Arizona next month. She is flying, but only for convenience, not cost.
But with airline ticket prices rising — AAA found the lowest average airfare for this weekend to be 6 percent higher than last year — that’s not a safe bet, either.