Cool water didn't discourage these kids from taking the plunge on Thursday afternoon at Columbia Lake. From the left is 8 year old Amber Petersen, 8 year old Morgan Hartnett and 7 year old Logan Hartnett. Al Malpa Photo
After nearly two weeks of rain, area residents can enjoy hot and humid weather this holiday weekend as they cook out or take a weekend getaways.
Local and state police officials advise residents to be careful when traveling to their chosen destinations.
According to AAA, the weather is expected to fuel consumer’s desires to travel for holiday celebrations. “Consumers are eager to kick off the summer travel season after a harsh winter,” AAA Public Affairs Coordinator Jacklyn Ghergurovich said in a statement issued by the travel club.
AAA is estimating 34.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday weekend. Despite increased gas prices, this figure has increased .02 percent from last year.
In Connecticut, gas prices will hover around $4.23 per gallon this weekend. This price is down five cents from last week but up $1.18 from the same time last year, AAA said.
Accuweather meterologist Tom Kines said temperatures are expected to reach the mid- to upper-80s today. He doesn’t expect any rain.
He said Saturday will be partly sunny with highs in the low 80s, while Sunday will also see highs in the low 80s.
Monday will be partly sunny and slightly humid, with the chance of afternoon or evening showers. Temperatures will reach mid-80s that day.
“While we can’t rule out the chance of afternoon thunderstorms, certainly the bulk of the time (over the holiday weekend) is rain free,” Kines said.
State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said police are anticipating a lot of “in-state traffic” over the holiday.
“People are staying close to home,” Vance said.
State and local police will be setting up roving patrols throughout the area.
Willimantic Police officer, Corporal Alex Coriaty explains to a driver on Main St. the meaning of "Click it or Ticket". He said that starting June 1st, the "Click it or Ticket" month long buckle up campaign begins. Coriaty also said that Memorial Day drivers should know that there will be concentrated enforcement of driving laws to help lessen traffic accidents this long weekend. Al Malpa Photo
Beginning today, Connecticut police will target distracted driving, driving under the influence and other motor vehicle violations as part of the National Combined Action Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.) During last Memorial Day weekend, state police arrested 76 drunken drivers, and charged 1,729 motorists with speeding and 944 with seatbelt violations.
The following local sobriety checkpoints will be conducted:
• Troop C will conduct roving patrols on routes 30, 31, 32, 44, 74, 89, 190, 195, 275 and Interstate 84 in Willington, Mansfield and Ashford today through Monday.
• Troop D will conduct patrols on routes 6 and 169 in Brooklyn Saturday through Tuesday.
• Troop K will conduct patrols on routes 6 and 32 in Windham and Willimantic Saturday and Sunday. They will also patrol Route 66 in Hebron and Columbia Monday and Tuesday.
Local police will also be conducting enforcement efforts throughout the weekend.
Willimantic Police Lt. Mary Beth Curtis said her department will have extra patrols targeting behaviors such as driving under the influence and distracted driving.
These patrols began Thursday night and will continue throughout the weekend.
A traffic advisory has also been issued for the town of Windham during the Memorial Day parade Monday. The parade will begin at Jilson Square at approximately 10:30 a.m. and a ceremony will be held at Memorial Park on Main Street at approximately 11 a.m. From there, the parade will travel to Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall on Main Street.
Main Street will be closed from Jackson Street to Mansfield Avenue that day from 10:30 a.m. till the parade passes Bridge Street. Other areas of Main Street to routes 6 and 66 will be closed at various stages of the parade.
Coventry police will have both directed DUI patrols and roving patrols during the weekend.
“We try to focus on holiday weekends,” Coventry Police Chief Mark Palmer said.
In addition to being careful on the roads, individuals are reminded to prepare for the weather by wearing sunscreen when outdoors.
The Department of Public Health has declared today as “Don’t Fry Day” in an effort to encourage people to protect their skin.
DPH officials said individuals should wear sun protective clothing, a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses.
They should also use SPF 15 or higher sunscreen, health officials said.
With many preparing foods such as chicken and steak on the grill during this holiday, it is also important to keep fire safety in mind.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, gas grills were involved in an average of 6,200 home fires from 2004 to 2008.
“Summer barbecues can be a great time, but nobody wants to see a fun backyard event spoiled,” Loraine Carli, Vice President of Communications for NFPA, said in a release.
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