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With Eye On Storm, Holiday Travelers Hit The Road Early

(NJ Turnpike, in 2010 file photo)

(NJ Turnpike, in 2010 file photo)

Jim Melwert Jim Melwert
Jim is a "morning drive" reporter for KYW Newsradio 1060, bringing...
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By Jim Melwert

CHERRY HILL, NJ (CBS) – Nearly half a million people from the Philadelphia area will travel 50-miles or more for Thanksgiving, with most of them saying they planned to leave tomorrow, according to AAA Mid Atlantic. But, a nasty weather forecast is changing some of those plans.

It’s been a steady stream of cars here at the Walt Whitman Travel Plaza along the New Jersey Turnpike, in Cherry Hill.

And with a weather forecast calling for heavy rain and high winds tonight and into tomorrow, people like Phil Pierre-Louis, say they decided to get an early jump.

“Yeah, it was basically, like, ‘Hey, I want to get out there before the traffic hits and then the weather and all that.’”

Pierre-Louis says he done this drive for thanksgiving before and it’s a special kind of awful when it’s nice out, he can’t imagine what it would be like trying to deal with what’s in the current forecast.

The experienced Thanksgiving traveler knows the slog down I-95 is awful even in the best of conditions, so many people, like Bill McJunkin from New York, decided to get the early start.

“A nightmare, a nightmare, (I’ll) be sitting in traffic, especially if the weather turns to the worst, it’s going to be horrible.”

Bill is headed to South Carolina, about 11 hours in good conditions, which he’s hoping to see for most of his trip.

Jan, her husband, daughter and their two dogs, will stop and pick up two more of their daughters, all on their way to Thanksgiving in Tampa, Florida. But, she says when they saw the weather forecast for tonight into tomorrow, the decided to leave early.

“Because we want to try to beat the weather, especially because now we’re towing a trailer, which we haven’t brought down before, so it’s just adding to the fun we already have.”

She says they’ve done this drive every year for the past few years, and, with all the traffic, it’s a tough go even when the weather’s nice.

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