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Expect more travelers, beautiful weather on Thanksgiving

More Americans are expected to travel during Thanksgiving this week than last year, with most people hitting the roads, according to a AAA report.

Last year, 43.3 million Americans traveled during the holiday. The number is expected to jump slightly this year to 43.6 million Americans who will take a trip of 50 miles or more away from home between Wednesday — expected to be the busiest day this week — and Sunday.

About 90 percent of Americans, the report shows, will travel on the roads.

In Florida, more than 2 million people are expected to travel on the state's roadways and about 155,000 others will take flights.

That means more troopers will be keeping watch on the roads in Tampa Bay and the rest of Florida, said Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins.

Gas prices are also expected to decline this week, which may persuade residents to travel. On Monday, the current national average was $3.41. The average in Tampa Bay was $3.23.

"Those lower gas prices are helping to keep the travel numbers steady," Gaskins said.

At Tampa International Airport, officials are expecting a 4.9 percent increase in passenger traffic from Wednesday through Sunday, said airport spokeswoman Janet Zink.

"Looks like it's going to be pretty busy," Zink said.

In Tampa Bay, clear skies, dry air and slight breezes were forecast for this week.

Forecasters predict highs in the low to mid-70s throughout the week and overnight lows that dip from the low 50s into the upper 40s in northern counties. Coastal areas will also be slightly cooler during the day.

"Overall, it's going to be a real beautiful week," said National Weather Service forecaster John McMichael.

A high pressure ridge to the north will bring some wind through the region, but not enough to drop temperatures more than a few degrees below the area average of 76.

Expect more travelers, beautiful weather on Thanksgiving 11/19/12 [Last modified: Monday, November 19, 2012 7:15pm]
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