Published: 2009-11-25 04:01:00
Updated: 2009-11-25 17:25:00
Posted November 25, 2009
Raleigh, N.C. — Holiday travelers saw relatively few delays across the country on what is traditionally the heaviest travel day of the year.
One bump in the road was along Interstate 40 westbound in Sampson County. The state Department of Transportation closed some lanes along a two-mile stretch from mile marker 355 to mile marker 357 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Back-ups stretched to four miles long by mid-afternoon. After the work was finished, traffic quickly picked up speed and was moving normally by 3:30 p.m., the DOT said.
Weather over most of the East Coast was mild but cloudy Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. Low clouds could contribute to minor flight delays, the weather service warned. No major delays were reported at airports along the East Coast corridor.
"Most of Thanksgiving Day should be fairly sunny," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.
"We should see more sun than we've seen in a long time." The forecast high for the holiday is 63 degrees.
The gloomy weather that has been in central North Carolina for much of the week was beginning to clear Wednesday evening.
"The only concern overnight and early Thursday is a patchy, dense fog," Fishel said.
Thanksgiving in the Triangle should be cool and dry, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner added, with some chilly nights to follow.
"If you are awakening early to get those great bargains (Friday), make sure you are well bundled since the temperatures will be hovering in the 30s and 40s. And with the wind that is anticipated, it will feel even colder."
The return trip for Thanksgiving travelers looks sunny and seasonal. Fishel forecast highs in the upper-50s to low-60s with sunshine for the weekend.
More North Carolinians will travel this Thanksgiving than last year, and flying has become their least favorite means of transportation, according to AAA Carolinas.
Travel by automobile will be up 3.1 percent, and by train or bus up 2.8 percent, while travel by air will drop by 6.6 percent.
AAA estimates about one out of eight North Carolina residents will hit the road for Thanksgiving.
The state Transportation Department suspended work on most road projects through the holidays.
One bottleneck could be the 50-mile detour for Interstate 40 traffic heading into Tennessee. An October rock slide about two miles from the border closed the road in both directions.