LAURINBURG — Encouraged by low gasoline prices, Kathy Davis of Laurinburg filled up at the Speedway off Church Street.
Davis said her ideal place to travel this Labor Day holiday would be Myrtle Beach, S.C.
But Davis and whole lot of others may need an alternative plan with the possibility of tropical storms hitting the Carolinas.
If Tropical Depression Nine strengthens and becomes Tropical Storm Hermine, Labor Day weekend could feature a tropical cyclone off the coasts of the Carolinas.
According to the National Weather Service, the North Carolina coast can expect to see anywhere from four to seven inches of rain with isolated regions seeing 10 inches of rain throughout the duration of the storm, which ends Saturday evening.
The National Weather Service is also forecasting strong rip currents from the storm.
“The surf is dangerous for all levels of swimmers. Remember to heed the advice of the local beach patrol and flag warning systems,” the NWS said.
Tropical Storm Hermine is projected to bring rain throughout Friday to South Carolina before migrating to North Carolina by Saturday night. Cloudy skies are expected to stay over the Carolinas until Sunday.
For those looking for a trip somewhere other than areas beaches, congestion could also be a problem.
The state of North Carolina has experienced an increase in vehicle miles traveled since 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, which may cause congestion for drivers looking to get away.
A survey by the AAA, said 55 percent of Americans are more likely to take a road trip this year due to lower gas prices. The average price of regular gasoline in Laurinburg was $2.07 as of Wednesday. The state average is $2.10.
Dean Nichols, owner of Nic’s Pic Kwik in Laurinburg, described the spike in travel as two-edged sword for his business.
“We will be busy Friday and Monday at our gas stations with everyone heading to the beach,” he said, “but with locals leaving as well, we won’t have much business on Saturday and Sunday.”
Some tips to travel safe this weekend include avoiding peak travel times, leaving early and using alternative routes to avoid congestion, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Drinking and driving
The Labor Day holiday also means the return of the annual Booze It & Lose It campaign that began Aug. 19 and runs until Monday.
“We want everyone in North Carolina to enjoy this Labor Day holiday and make safe choices,” said N.C. Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson. “Our ultimate goal is to eliminate alcohol-related accidents and fatalities by getting impaired drivers off the road through education and enforcement efforts.”
During last year’s Booze It & Lose It campaign, state and local law enforcement arrested 3,523 impaired drivers through more than 13,500 sobriety checkpoints across the state. State law makes it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.
During the Labor Day weekend, the N.C. Department of Transportation will suspend most road construction activities on major routes across the state to ensure that holiday travelers will have smoother trips. Avoiding traffic delays can help motorists reach their destinations safely and efficiently, while also reducing fuel consumption. Work on most construction projects along interstate, N.C. and U.S. routes will be put on hold from 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 31, until midnight, Monday, Sept. 5.
For real-time travel information, visit the Traveler Services section of NCDOT.gov or follow NCDOT on Twitter.
Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171