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Long Island forecast: ‘Good travel weather’ on getaway day

A view of traffic on the Southern State

A view of traffic on the Southern State Parkway in Merrick, early Tuesday evening, Nov. 22, 2016. Getaway day on Wednesday, Nov. 23, offers chilly morning temperatures across Long Island but the overall forecast calls for a fine day to hit the road. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Evening commuters on Wednesday are looking at good driving conditions, at least weather-wise, for the ride home, forecasters say.

That, of course, is apart from possibly significant traffic snarls on what’s traditionally one of the busiest travel days of the year, as people head to or from Long Island to be in place for Thanksgiving dinner Thursday.

And those hitting the roads later Wednesday night for areas including central New York better know that there’s a winter weather advisory from the National Weather Service in Binghamton calling for a “light wintry mix,” starting around 11 p.m.

Thursday morning on Long Island is expected to bring cloudy, but dry skies, but with a 40 percent chance for light rain after noon, the weather service in Upton said.

Think more along the lines of “showery” and “drizzle” and “possibly intermittent,” said Faye Barthold, meteorologist in Upton.

Highs for Thanksgiving are forecast for the upper 40s to around 50, she said.

One reason experts think Thanksgiving travel in New York will near an 11-year record is low gas prices.

About 2.7 million New Yorkers will drive to Thanksgiving dinner, about 38,000 more than last year, and nearly as many as the record of 2.9 million set in 2005, said Alec Slatky, a policy analyst with AAA Northeast.

The average price for a gallon of gas in New York is about $2.38 a gallon, Slatky said. That’s up just about a nickel from last year but down about 85 cents from two years ago, he said.

A stronger economy also should boost holiday travel, experts said.

Weather and low gas prices aside, Long Island drivers who don’t have E-ZPasses will face some of the longest delays, according to AAA Northeast.

People who rely on the Long Island Rail Road will get the benefit of 12 extra Wednesday trains scheduled to leave Penn Station between 12:42 p.m. and 4:06 p.m., the MTA said in a statement.

Riders should be aware that “in the interest of safety, alcohol will not be allowed on LIRR trains, stations or platforms,” effective at 8 p.m. Wednesday until 5 a.m. Thursday, and MTA police will enforce the restriction, the railroad said.

Extra trains also will be run from Thursday through Sunday, and that four-day period includes another boon: lower off-peak fares, even on Black Friday, when the regular weekday schedule resumes, the MTA said.

Over the four-day holiday, a special $1 fare applies for up to four children ages 5 to 11, as long as tickets are bought before boarding. As always, younger children ride for free.

The Port Authority in a statement urged anyone flying to arrive early, predicting 1.6 million people will use its airports, up 100,000 from last year.

Possibly, the construction at LaGuardia that has snarled parking might cause people to choose other airports or ways of traveling.

LaGuardia should see 343,800 fliers, 75,000 less than last year, the bi-state agency predicted. In contrast, Kennedy Airport will handle about 73,000 more travelers, for a total of 717,700, it said.

During Thanksgiving week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in a statement said the state will crack down on impaired, distracted or underage drivers.

Long Island’s three largest law enforcement agencies said they will crack down on distracted, aggressive and impaired drivers during the extended Thanksgiving weekend.

State Police, Nassau County and Suffolk County police released plans Tuesday regarding increased patrols.

Drivers on state roads and bridges will get one boon. Lanes that are temporarily closed on state roads and bridges for construction instead will remain open from 6 a.m. on Wednesday until 6 a.m. on Monday, Cuomo said.

With Gary Dymski


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