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Few bumps in road during Labor Day weekend getaway commute

Don't expect perfect weather for Labor Day weekend,

Don't expect perfect weather for Labor Day weekend, with the forecast calling for a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. But there's enough dry weather expected that those planned outdoor activities should only experience mild interruptions. (Aug. 30, 2013) Credit: Weather Underground

The evening commute went relatively smoothly Friday, as there were no major accidents reported on Long Island and the LIRR was running on or close to schedule with a few exceptions.

Extra trains were available for Long Islanders looking to get an early start on the Labor Day weekend.

The Long Island Rail Road added nine eastbound trains out of Penn Station beginning just after 2 p.m. They include three trains each on the Port Jefferson and Babylon branches, one each on the Port Washington and Far Rockaway branches, and one train to Jamaica for a connection to Montauk.

As of about 6:15 p.m. the LIRR was reporting good service most of its lines. One train each on the Babylon, Port Jefferson and Long Beach lines were delayed due to congestion. Equipment trouble delayed two trains on the Montauk line.

As for the holiday weekend weather, the forecast is calling for a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. But there's enough dry weather expected that those planned outdoor activities should only experience mild interruptions.

"It may not be perfect beach weather with the clouds and all, but the weekend should not be a complete washout," said Brian Ciemnecki, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The Upton-based service says a trough of low pressure and an approaching cold front will bring some cloudy days for the extended holiday weekend, with high humidity and daytime temperatures in the 80s.

"We have a number of short waves that will pivot through the area this weekend," Ciemnecki said. But Friday through Monday "will probably end up being more dry than wet."

Chance for rain ranges between 20 percent for Friday and Saturday to as high as 50 percent on Monday, the service said.

Saturday looks to be the best day for outdoor cookouts or treks to the beach, Ciemnecki said.

The chance for rain "increases a little bit more on Sunday, then a little bit more on Monday."

Most of the Northeast will experience similar weather -- cloudy, hot and humid, with the threat of rain, according to forecasts. So those leaving Long Island should have pretty much the same chance for successful outdoor activities.

Friday morning's commute was free of any major issues, according to information posted by the New York State Department of Transportation website and social media communications from the Long Island Rail Road.

Travel officials said this will be the busiest Labor Day weekend on the roads and in the skies in five years, thanks to many people having a little more money in their pockets.

The New York Auto Club estimates that 34.1-million Americans will travel on the holiday weekend -- a 4.3 percent increase over last year and the most since the economic collapse in 2008.

"It's kind of reflective of how important the economy is for people to go out and travel," auto club spokesman Robert Sinclair Jr. said. "Their house is worth a little bit more . . . Maybe their 401(k) is going up. It gives them a little more confidence and maybe a few extra pennies in their pocket to go take the trip."

About 85 percent of travelers will make their trips by car. Weekend air travel is expected to increase from last year by 3 percent, Sinclair said.

To help clear the way for Labor Day road warriors, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Thursday the suspension of most construction projects on state roads for the weekend.

Nassau and Suffolk police plan to boost enforcement against drunken and aggressive drivers. Suffolk police Chief Stuart Cameron said increased patrols will be in place at shopping centers because of Labor Day sale crowds, and enforcement of boating safety will be stepped up.

"The Labor Day holiday weekend is a time when millions of travelers are taking one final summer getaway, and each year it is one of our state's busiest travel periods," Cuomo said in a statement, adding that he encouraged New Yorkers to do just that, to "get out and enjoy a smooth trip to one of New York State's great destinations."

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