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Wet drive forecast for Thanksgiving in SCV

Posted: November 25, 2013 5:16 p.m.
Updated: November 25, 2013 5:15 p.m.
 

Santa Clarita Valley travelers who hit the road Wednesday night or any time on Thanksgiving Day are being advised to leave during off traffic times and allow extra travel time because the holiday is due to arrive with rain.

A tenth to a quarter of an inch of rain is expected to fall on the Santa Clarita Valley beginning late afternoon Thursday, said Kathy Hoxsie, weather specialist with the National Water Service in Oxnard.

Marie Montgomery Nordhues, spokeswoman for the Automobile Club of Southern California, advises motorists to plan their drive at odd times to avoid crowded highways.

“If you’re going to travel outbound Wednesday and come back Sunday, you’re going to have a lot of company,” she said. “If you could figure out a different schedule, that would good. You want to leave super early in the morning but make sure you get enough sleep.

“You don’t want to be driving on three or four hours’ sleep,” she said. “This is a big danger over the Thanksgiving weekend.”

The good news is that 4 percent fewer travelers are expected on the road — and in the air — this year compared to last year, said Montgomery Nordhues.

That said, the Auto Club still expects to see the third highest number of Thanksgiving travelers since the recession began. It estimates 3.22 million Southern California residents and 5.18 million Californians will travel a distance of at least 50 miles over the holiday between Wednesday and Sunday.

The heaviest traffic is expected to be heading to five specific Southern California destinations: San Diego; Las Vegas; San Francisco; the Central Coast between Santa Barbara and Monterey; and, lastly, the Grand Canyon.

Good news for local motorists considering a holiday drive through the Grapevine is that Caltrans has suspended road closures associated with the ongoing pavement improvement project near the Kern County line.

There will be no scheduled construction closures Thanksgiving weekend for the project ongoing between Vista Del Lago Road and the Kern County line, Caltrans spokeswoman Kelly Markham.

“The Thanksgiving construction closure suspension begins Wednesday at 6 a.m., not Thursday, because we realize a lot of people will be traveling on Wednesday, and we want to help them get where they’re going as quickly and easily as possible,” Markham said.

Beginning Wednesday, the California Highway Patrol will join other law enforcement agencies from San Diego to Bellingham, Wash., in “emphasis patrols” aimed at holding traffic fatalities to zero on Interstate 5 during the long holiday weekend.

Called “Arrive Alive on I-5,” the patrols will have officers in all three West Coast states looking for speeders and aggressive, distracted or impaired drivers.

Interstate 5 averages more than 14,000 collisions annually, according to the CHP. At least 92 people were killed in I-5 collisions in California in 2012, CHP data shows.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

jholt@signalscv.com
661-287-5527
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt

 

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