By Stetson Miller

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The unofficial first weekend of the summer has arrived and travelers are preparing for what is expected to be one of the busiest Memorial Day weekends since the pandemic began. 

AAA estimates that about 39 million Americans will travel in the coming days, up about 8.3% from last year, including more than 814,000 Marylanders.  

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Nearly 90% of those Maryland travelers are expected to be driving and MDOT is urging them to leave early for their trips or stay late—especially if crossing over the Bay Bridge.  

“We’re projecting more than 300-thousand vehicles will cross the bay bridge between . . . Friday and Monday,” said Jim Ports, the Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary. “So if you’re headed to the beach today you might want to wait until this evening.”  

US-50 saw heavy eastbound delays approaching the bridge throughout Friday and two-way travel was stopped at times because of high winds and rain. 

  • The best times to travel the Bay Bridge this weekend include: 
    • Thursday, May 26 – before 10 a.m. and after 9 p.m. 
    • Friday, May 27 – before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. 
    • Saturday, May 28 – before 8 a.m. and after 4 p.m. 
    • Sunday, May 29 – before 11 a.m. and after 9 p.m. 
    • Memorial Day Monday, May 30 – before 9 a.m. and after 11 p.m. 

At Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, the severe weather also caused some delays for travelers. 

“Our flights got delayed and canceled so we’re taking a different route but we’ll eventually get home,” said Betty Penelton, who was flying home to Florida. 

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Some travelers said they were put on different flights with connections as the storms moved through the Baltimore area throughout the day. 

“Our flight got canceled due to weather . . . and now we’re going to fly to Denver and then back to Omaha,” said Xander Uhrmacher, who got rerouted from Washington, DC, and was trying to get home to Nebraska. 

The airport is urging travelers to check their flights status throughout Friday evening as the storms continue.  

Most people are hitting the road though says AAA, despite record-high gas prices now at an average of $4.59 per gallon nationally.  

But some people WJZ spoke with did say that the price of gas deterred them from making any holiday travel plans.  

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“Usually we travel to Massachusetts and stuff, you know. my family is there but gas is super expensive,” Baltimore resident Dorine Valencuela said.

Stetson Miller