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Thanksgiving weekend offers nice weather, bargains, congested travel

Kathy Douglas of Pinellas Park greets her son, Army Spc. Robert Sipes of St. Petersburg, at Tampa airport Tuesday while holding his son, Michael, 2. Sipes is on leave from Afghanistan.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

Kathy Douglas of Pinellas Park greets her son, Army Spc. Robert Sipes of St. Petersburg, at Tampa airport Tuesday while holding his son, Michael, 2. Sipes is on leave from Afghanistan.

Weather

A cool front will arrive today, bringing some showers followed by cooler, drier air, a significant change from the unseasonable warmth of the last few days. Thanksgiving Day should be near perfect, with a high of 75 and low humidity. Severe weather is not expected elsewhere in the United States.

Roads

Drive carefully. Florida roads will be packed with 2 million travelers between today and Saturday, according to AAA. Free coffee will be offered along the Florida Turnpike. The Florida Highway Patrol is stepping up enforcement. Last year, troopers investigated 12,770 violations.

Gasoline

Regular gas prices have dropped by about a nickel in the past week to about $3.36 a gallon in the state, the AAA says. Don't be fooled. The average price of gas is still 50 cents more than it was during last year's holiday trek, when Florida drivers paid an average of $2.86 a gallon.

Air travel

Up to 60,000 people will be passing through Tampa International Airport in the next five days, a 20 percent increase over typical traffic, officials said. Show up two hours before domestic flights and expect tight security.

Shopping

Once the food is gone, let the bargain hunting begin. Stores will open earlier than ever. Some, including Toys "R" Us, Big Lots and Old Navy, will begin Black Friday on Thanksgiving.

Compiled by Times staff writer Marissa Lang. Times illustrations by Don Morris.

Thanksgiving weekend offers nice weather, bargains, congested travel 11/22/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 11:55pm]
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