Memorial Day weekend is a time to remember the sacrifice of our nation's fallen soldiers and officially welcome summer with barbecues and beach trips. Before you climb in your cars or board your boats to celebrate, read up on travel tips from local transportation, safety and weather experts.
Roads: AAA expects more than 1.6 million motorists to hit Florida roadways this weekend. To help travelers get to their Memorial Day destinations with ease, the Florida Department of Transportation will delay all interstate closures until Tuesday evening, said DOT spokesperson Kris Carson. But travellers should still look out for congestion when driving on Interstate 275 between the east end of the Howard Frankland Bridge and the State Road 60 exit, she said, specifically in the southbound lane. Carson asks motorists to drive cautiously around road construction in northern Hillsborough County and Pasco County. For traffic updates, call 511, visit FL511.com, download the Florida 511 app or follow 511 on Twitter.
Weather: For those cooking out, camping or sinking their toes into the sand this Memorial Day weekend, expect clear skies and plenty of sunshine, said Bay News 9 chief meteorologist Mike Clay. "There will be a slight chance of a thunderstorm each afternoon as the sea breeze comes inland," he said. "Just keep an eye out for a late day thunderstorm, with the risk of lightning." Beachgoers should keep wildlife in mind this weekend and throughout summer, according to a news release from Pinellas County. When splashing in the water along the coast, remember to do the sting ray shuffle, and watch for sea turtle nests along the beach, marked by wooden stakes and yellow ribbon.
Boating safety: With 11 boating accident deaths already this year in Florida and 62 last year, the state's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission urges boaters to wear life jackets and designate a lookout. "The leading type of accident continues to be boaters colliding with other boats or objects," wildlife commission Lt. Seth Wagner said in a news release.
Air travel: For those flying in or out of Tampa International Airport, spokesperson Janet Zink said there is no reason to fret over weekend delays, at least not at this time. She reminds fliers to check with their airlines for up-to-date information on their flights.
Katie Mettler can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8913. Follow her on Twitter @kemettler.