Higher gas, rainy travel this holiday

If you’re driving to grandma’s house this Thanksgiving, it will cost you more and the trip might be a wet one.


Prices at the gas pump have jumped in recent days, just in time for Thursday’s holiday. The highways, though wet, are not expected to be as busy.

“AAA projects a slight decrease in the number of Thanksgiving travelers this year as a result of weakened consumer sentiment tied to economic uncertainty and the government shutdown,” said Jessica Brady, a spokeswoman for the auto club.

Gas prices had been expected to drop through the holiday, and many states were selling fuel below $3 a gallon, but then prices began to rise. That spike is expected to be temporary.

According to AAA, about 43.4 million Americans – a decrease of about 1.5 percent – will travel 50 miles or more this holiday. Georgia will account for about 1.24 million travelers, and South Carolina is expecting about 630,000.

Cold, wet weather is in the forecast.

Strong low pressure moving in from the Gulf will bring widespread rain to Georgia through Wednesday, typically the heaviest day for holiday travel. Tuesday will see the highest chance of rainfall, with a 100 percent chance.

Augustans could see up to 2 inches, but north Georgia could see minor flooding, ice and snow, according to Pam Tucker, the director of Columbia County Emergency and Operations Division.

Richmond County temperatures will stay above freezing while the rain is falling, but Thanksgiving week is expected to be much cooler than normal.

“We’re in a pattern right now where we’re actually looking at below-normal temperatures for the next six to 10 days,” said Chris Liscinsky, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Columbia.

According to the weather service, temperatures will be in the mid-40s today before climbing back to 50 on Wednesday. Another dip will put temperatures in the mid-40s Thursday.

Temperatures will gradually climb through the rest of the week and weekend until reaching the mid-50s by Sunday.

For adults wishing to add alcohol to their celebrations, AAA is teaming with Bud Light again to offer free tows and rides to a safe location within a 10-mile radius for people in Georgia, Florida and Tennessee through the Tow to Go program. It is available to AAA members and nonmembers alike.

“Last year, one of the busiest weekends for Tow to Go was Thanksgiving,” said Gerry Gutowski Sr., the vice president of AAA’s Automotive Services. “The program is invaluable because it brings attention to the dangers of drinking and driving beyond just giving an intoxicated driver a safe ride home.”

For service, call (855) 2-TOW-2-GO or (855) 286-9245.