Last holiday weekend in summer could be a washout

 

DOVER — The time for one last blast of summertime fun is here.

There’s no controlling the weather for Labor Day weekend and it may be extremely rainy with strong wind gusts at times.

Avoiding intoxicated driving and leaving early and staying late for travel, however, are up to motorists.

When it comes to navigating roads safely, the same annual warning to not drink and drive applies.

Partnering with the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, law enforcement will continue a high visibility campaign dubbed Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over through Monday. An increased number of officers on the road and saturation patrols are aimed at curbing drunken driving, which will be shown zero tolerance during enforcement.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 40 percent of fatalities in traffic crashes involved drunk drivers during the 2014 Labor Day holiday weekend, the highest percentage in five years.

AAA-Mid Atlantic is projecting a fifth straight year of increased traffic this weekend, and “2016 is shaping up to be a record year for summertime travel,” spokesman Jim Lardear said.

Lower gas prices often spur Americans to take a road trip, and Mr. Lardear said “No doubt many of them will be getting away over the last long weekend of the summer.”

The weather report

With Hurricane Gaston, Tropical Storm Hermine and Tropical Depression Eight churning western Atlantic water, the National Weather Service said rip currents will threaten the coast throughout the weekend.

“As is always the case, people at the beach should enter the water only if life guards are present,” a NWS update advised on Thursday. “Most rip current deaths occur on beaches when and where no life guards are on duty.”

Gale force winds along the shore and coast are expected, the NWS forecast, with the strongest gusts coming mid-Saturday through Monday.

Rain is predicted to arrive throughout much of the Mid-Atlantic region on Saturday and remain through Sunday. Amount of precipitation will depend mightily on the track Tropical Storm Hermine takes, according to the NWS.

While recent dry conditions will cut down on possible stream or river flooding, the NWS said street and flash flooding are more likely.

With stormy weather possibly looming AAA Mid-Atlantic encouraged persons and families to develop an emergency plan just in case its needed.

“This includes discussing various scenarios with your family and rehearsing the actions you’ll take if and when a disaster strikes,” a news release read.

AAA Mid-Atlantic recommended the Red Cross Hurricane Safety Checklist online at redcross.org for a list of necessary steps to stay as safe as possible.

The Delaware Department of Transportation suspended lane closures on major highways at midnight last night, which will conclude at midnight on Tuesday.

For traffic signal updates, motorists can contact DelDOT’s Transportation Management Center anytime at 659-4600 or 1-800-324-8379 or by dialing #77 on any cell phone.

Current travel information is available online at www.DelDOT.gov and via web enabled telephones and tablets at www.DelDOT.gov/Mobile.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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