Nearly two million people are expected to travel in Illinois over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, despite long security lines at airports and a stormy weather forecast.
The bad news for travelers and barbecue-goers over the holiday—most of the weekend is expected to be hot and humid, with several chances for showers and thunderstorms.
Friday is expected to see a high of 83 degrees with a 50 percent chance of showers and storms, the National Weather Service forecasts. Friday night, showers are likely and a thunderstorm is also possible.
Saturday is expected to be about 80 degrees with a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms; and Sunday will be partly sunny with a high near 82 and another chance for storms.
Memorial Day will be mostly sunny with a high near 79, according to the weather service, and there will be a slight chance for storms again Tuesday.
Despite the inclement forecast, AAA projects that 1.9 million people will travel in Illinois between Thursday and Monday, a slight increase from last year. About 1.7 million of those people will be driving.
“Millions of Americans are eager to kick off the unofficial start of the summer travel season by taking a Memorial Day getaway,” AAA President Joe Richardson said in a statement.
“We are forecasting an increase in holiday travelers for the second consecutive year, and the most in 11 years, largely due to low gas prices, a growing labor market, and rising personal incomes. If these factors continue, the travel industry should enjoy a booming summer season,” Richardson said.
Gas prices in Illinois are averaging $2.36 per gallon, down from $2.78 last year, according to AAA. In Indiana, gas prices are even lower, at $2.28 per gallon.
The Illinois Tollway expects to see nearly 7.6 million vehicles criss-crossing its system between Friday and Tuesday, with the busiest day expected to be Friday.
IDOT warns all those drivers to be safe over the holiday weekend. An increased number of patrols will be cracking down on seat belt law violators and impaired drivers 24/7, with a focus on late-night hours. Last year over the Memorial Day weekend, 13 people died in 12 crashes in Illinois.
Many other travelers—about 95,000 Illinoisans—will be flying to their holiday destination, according to AAA. Travelers should arrive at the airport at least two or three hours before their flight due to expected long security lines.