As you prepare to embark on your holiday travel, you should also brace yourself for nasty New York City weather that could make the roads even worse, according to the National Weather Service.
Heavy rain is expected to pelt the tri-state area, forecasters say. The storm could drop two to three inches of rain, threatening floods in urban areas and on low-lying roads.
The New York City Emergency Management Department issued a travel advisory for Friday, and the National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for the five boroughs specifically, in effect through 1 a.m. Saturday.
The wet New York City weather will begin Thursday afternoon, coinciding with when most residents are expected to hit the road for their holiday travels.
According to AAA, the worst of the holiday traffic will be Thursday night from 9:30 to 10, when drivers could see delays up to 3.75 times longer than usual.
Across the country, 102 million people will be driving during the holiday season, according to AAA.
Heavy rain is expected to last through Friday night along with some patchy fog, which could continue to affect holiday travelers hoping to get home by the weekend.
Both Thursday, Dec. 20 and Friday, Dec. 21 are Gridlock Alert Days, according to the New York City Department of Transportation, meaning traffic volumes are expected to hit high levels due to shopping and travel. During Gridlock Alert Days, driving through Midtown could take twice as long as on a typical day of week, officials say.
“We are expecting heavy rainfall that may cause widespread flooding on Friday, and we advise you to exercise caution and allow for extra travel time,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito, in a statement. “Friday is also a Gridlock Alert Day; please take mass transit where possible.”
Though it’ll be wet, New York City weather won’t be freezing cold, with Friday expected to hit a high of 58 degrees and a low of 47 at night.
“It’s all rain, no frozen precipitation, which is good,” said Carlie Buccola of the National Weather Service New York City office, “but heavy rain will reduce visibility, of course, and make the roads slippery. There’s also a wind advisory; parts of the area will see wind gusts up to 45 miles an hour.”
The flood watch affects almost the entire tri-state region, Buccola added, but the strongest winds will be across Long Island and New York City.
New York City weather through Christmas
There could be a slight chance of showers early Saturday, but New York City weather should dry up by the afternoon. Temperatures will fall to about 46 degrees on Saturday and hit a high of 44 on Sunday.
Christmas Eve should be partly sunny, according to the weather service, with a high near 44 degrees during the day and dipping down to around 32 at night. Christmas Day will be mostly sunny with temperatures reaching up to 41 degrees during the day and 34 at night.