Severe weather potential impacts holiday travel

Severe weather potential impacts holiday travel

There's no place like home for the holidays, which means that millions of Americans will take to the skies or hit the highway this week.

"The busiest travel day, of course, was the 19th and so the holiday season has begun," said Tom Heanue, executive director of Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport. "We are expecting record numbers of travelers to fly."

AAA expects 98.6 million Americans to travel 50 miles or more from home during the holiday season. This is a four percent increase from last year.

But a strong storm system plowing across the country could bring severe weather to the Gulf Coast Tuesday. The threat for severe storms shifts toward the east by Christmas Eve. This will greatly impact travel plans for folks trying to drive or fly from the southeast region.

The Pine Belt has the potential for these severe storms Tuesday morning into the early evening. The main threats include damaging straight-line winds and possibly tornados.

"Before you leave home, check the forecast, check the weather conditions," said Marda Tullos, executive director of the Jones County Emergency Management Agency. "Have a plan in place and get your kit ready. Have bottled water, snacks, and blankets just in case of severe weather."

Stay tuned through Tuesday for weather updates. If you're headed to the airport, be sure to check your flight status ahead of time and get to the airport at least 90 minutes before departure.