If you’re among the 900,000 Washington residents that AAA Travel says will journey more than 50 miles from home on the highway this Thanksgiving weekend, here’s a tip:
Go early or go late, and let the masses slog it out at midday.
That’s particularly true if you’re headed on Interstate 90 across Snoqualmie Pass, according to the state Department of Transportation (WSDOT).
Eastbound travelers on Wednesday can expect congestion or stop-and-go traffic between 2 and 4 p.m., when more than 2,000 vehicles an hour are likely to cross the pass, based on previous Thanksgiving weekends.
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But the traffic volume will be less than half that amount before 9 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
Thanksgiving itself could be a good day to travel. Severe congestion is not expected either direction across the pass on Thanksgiving Day.
But daytime traffic will build over the weekend.
Returning from Eastern Washington on I-90, traffic is likely to be at its worst between 1 and 3 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Make your return drive Saturday evening or Sunday morning and you’ll find fewer drivers sharing the road.
Despite rain and wind, drivers throughout Western Washington may be thankful for temperatures above freezing — across the Puget Sound area and even into the mountain passes for the first part of the holiday weekend.
In the Seattle area, highs are forecast in the 50s Wednesday through Friday, then dropping into the 40s for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Seattle’s normal high temperature for late November is 48.
The chance of rain in the Seattle area is 40 percent on Wednesday, then up to 80 percent on Thanksgiving Day and Friday.
Highs and overnight lows on both Stevens and Snoqualmie passes are expected to stay above freezing Wednesday and Thursday nights, and then drop into the 20s on Friday night. Both passes have a slight chance of snow showers Saturday and Sunday.
On the ferries, the longest lines are expected westbound Wednesday afternoon and evening, and eastbound Friday morning. Some routes will be on a holiday schedule Thursday. Check online at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferriesor call toll-free 888-808-7977.
The Thanksgiving weekend is expected to see 600,000 travelers pass through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
With severe winter storms expected in other parts of the country, it’s particularly important to check with your airlines to learn of any possible delays or cancellations.
Jack Broom: email@example.com or 206-464-2222