Many more Americans are expected to travel this holiday season than last year.

More than 109 million people will travel 80 km or more between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2, according to the AAA’s annual travel forecast. This is almost 34% more than in 2020.

For those staying in the Phoenix Metro, daytime temperatures that should be in the 50s and 60s should provide perfect weather for Christmas outdoor activities, such as Camelback Mountain hike to visit Santa at the top.

Check here for the latest updates on traffic, accidents, weather, gas prices and airport conditions you might encounter this holiday weekend.

Follow the Republic reporters’ holiday weekend coverage here.

9 a.m. Thursday: no complete closure of state highways, according to ADOT

No full closures are planned on state highways during and between Christmas and New Years weekends, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

The decision allows traffic to continue to flow during the holiday travel season, the agency said in a press release.

Some construction and maintenance work may take place until the end of the year; However, ADOT and its subcontractors will avoid full state highway closures during the holidays.

If you’re traveling the Arizona freeways for vacation, consider these tips from ADOT:

  • Check your vehicle’s tire pressure, engine fluid levels, and windshield wipers.
  • Never drive impaired.
  • Allow extra travel time and be prepared to slow down in existing work areas.
  • Be prepared for winter in the high country. Take an emergency kit with you in the vehicle.
  • Expect the unexpected. Carry extra supplies, such as clean water, in case of an unexpected shutdown.
  • Rest before you travel. Fatigue is a serious risk to road safety.
  • Fasten your seat belt and obey the speed limits.

Real-time road conditions are available on az511.gov, by calling 511 and via ADOT’s Twitter feed, @ArizonaDOT.

-Mike Cruz

Thursday at 6 a.m.: it will probably rain in Phoenix on Christmas Eve

Parts of the valley should be showered with rain in the days leading up to Christmas.

Jaret Rogers, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told The Arizona Republic on Wednesday that a storm system heading towards the valley could bring 0.5 to 1inch of rain between Thursday and Saturday.

Rogers said some areas could receive rain as early as Thursday evening, with the highest chance of precipitation being throughout Friday in the northern and eastern parts of the valley. He said there was a possibility of additional precipitation on Christmas morning, but most of the storm will likely have passed by then.

Rogers said the peaks would dip into the 60s and 50s in the valley.

Further north, Flagstaff is expected to receive between 2-3 inches of mostly rain and some snowfall, and slightly lower numbers in surrounding areas. The weather service expects Flagstaff to receive between 2 and 4 inches of snow between Christmas and December 29.

Rogers said those traveling on vacation should slow down and be extra careful in areas of rain or snow. He also recommended that people check weather advisories if they are traveling to other western states.

“There is potential for a lot of snow even in other parts of the western United States,” Rogers said.

– Perry Vandell

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