Roads will be safe for the holidays, authorities predict

Weather can change quickly

Authorities are predicting safe travels throughout Washington this holiday season.

According to AAA, a record breaking 112.5 million Americans are expected to travel during the winter holidays, with more than 90 percent choosing to travel by car. However, numerous weather conditions pose a challenge to travellers going by car.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a high wind warning on Dec. 20 for areas along the Puget Sound and the greater Seattle area.Strong winds have caused frequent road closures throughout Western Washington due to falling trees and power outages.

Despite the strong recent winds, Jeff Michalski, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said there were no dangerous weather systems in the lowlands area, with a dry weather forecast for the next few days, followed by a rainy system moving in on Sunday.

Washington State Patrol also is advising that in the event of a power outage, drivers should treat darkened traffic lights as a four-way stop.

Michalski said there is a chance for snow in the mountains around Snoqualmie Pass, but there is little chance of snow in the lowlands.

However, conditions could change on a dime. Ally Barrera, spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Transportation urged travellers to check the department’s website and to stay up-to-date on road conditions.

“It’s all about being prepared, making sure you’re in the know before you head out,” Barrera said. Barrera also is reminding drivers to put on snow chains when directed to do so or risk a $500 fine from the Washington State Patrol.

Construction should not be a problem for holiday travelers. Barrera said construction sites are suspended throughout the winter, though the volume of travellers on the road could still pose a challenge.

Many counties in Washington are experiencing their own share of troubles. The NWS issued a special weather statement today cautioning residents that increased rainfall in weeks prior has increased the likelihood of landslides occurring around the Puget Sound, with landslides already reported in both Grays Harbor and Lewis counties. However, Michalski said the chance of a landslide occurring in the lowlands around the greater Seattle area are slim.

Here on the Eastside, The NWS predicts a chance of showers, mostly cloudy, with a high in the mid 40s and a low in the mid 30s on Christmas day.

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