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December 23. 2013 11:35PM

Christmas Eve predicted to be big travel day

If you're hitting the road today or tomorrow, you'll be in good company. An estimated 94.5 million people across the country will be traveling between Christmas and New Year's Eve.

"This is the fifth consecutive year that the estimate has risen, and this is a new high for year-end holiday travel," said Nick Wallner, the New Hampshire spokesman for AAA of Northern New England. The driver advocacy group regular provides projections for holiday travel, based largely on national surveys.

In New England, the driver total is estimated to be a little over 4 million drivers.

An added boon for car travel, at least for New Englanders, is the weather. Cold but clear skies are forecast for the rest of the week.

The improving weather is an encouraging development for officials at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, where an increase in travelers the past couple days has coincided with fog and near-freezing rain.

Airport spokesman Tom Malafronte said flights on Christmas day are typically light, but he said travel will pick up later in the week.

"We would expect the rest of the week to be fairly steady as we get into the weekend, and for the New Year's weekend to be busy as well," Malafronte said. "Looking out five to 10 days, we're not seeing any major storm or freezing rain on the horizon. We're hoping to be able to get people to and from their destinations without any troubles."

One popular destination for travelers later in the week may be the state's ski resorts, thanks to plentiful snow and the good weather forecast. The majority of runs are open, and some mountains, such as King Pine, are fully open, an unusual occurrence at this time in the season.

Alice Pearce, the president of the trade group Ski New Hampshire, noted that there have been several recent snowfalls, while cold temperatures have allowed resorts to use snow-making machines.


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