Headline from WSDOT's Web site Dec. 25, 2008: "Don we now our rain apparel? Warmer temperatures are welcome gifts to Washington drivers"
On the west side, we were just warming up from the most recent winter storm. Over the mountains and into Eastern Washington you could still find some spots of ice and snow.
While WSDOT road crews were out fighting the weather Christmas Day (and the days and nights leading up to it), I sent that info to news outlets and our Web site while toasty warm on Christmas Day. Those crews are much tougher than me. (Side note: Should I praise or curse technology? Hmmmm - still trying to decide.)
On our YouTube channel we have some videos about what we do all winter.
So back to my point - snow was here in December 2008. As we got closer to January, it finally started to turn around. This type of weather can wreak havoc on travel, so the travel patterns and drivers who travel in December can vary widely from year to year. For this reason, WSDOT will not be posting historical travel data for Christmas and New Years Holiday weekends.
We typically post historical travel data to show drivers when we expect heavier-than-normal traffic on key vacation-type routes. With both Christmas and New Years on Friday this year, we thought about it. But, the historical data can get skewed with one or two days of bad weather in late December.
Our colleagues at AAA have information on projected travel, which they gather through nationwide surveys.
We do have some travel information for Christmas and New Years. We find only two spots of higher-than-normal traffic, the I-5 area north of Seattle and I-5 through Thurston and Lewis counties. Remember, the predictions are based on clear driving conditions.
The mountain pass highways aren't one of the heavy travel spots in late December, but ski season and any new snow may bring more people to I-90 Snoqualmie Pass, US 2 Stevens Pass and US 12 White Pass.
Regardless, prepare and know before you go. Washington weather can change quickly.