With last year’s Memorial Day Weekend being a stay-at-home event with the expanding pandemic, this year’s is looking much different. With the growing number who are now fully vaccinated, many more people are going to hit the road for the holiday weekend. Traffic volumes may feel like ‘the old days’ for 3-day weekend travel.

The Washington State Department of Transportation has some suggestions for your getaway on Friday and your return Monday, no matter if it is north, south, east or west of the North Sound.

Heading east toward Eastern Washington, the heaviest traffic volumes on Friday ramp up late in the morning and continue heavy through the evening, no matter if you are driving east on US 2 through Stevens Pass or on I-90 Snoqualmie Pass. The same is true heading south on I-5 toward Portland or north toward Bellingham or the San Juans.

Speaking of the ferries, wait times at westbound ferry terminals like Edmonds, Mukilteo, and Anacortes often hit two or even three hours on Friday afternoons and evenings.

The same heavy traffic volumes arise on Memorial Day ‘come home’ trips on both the ferries and highways. Eastbound ferry terminals like Clinton and Kingston also hit two to three hour waits. Westbound on both US 2 Stevens Pass and I-90 Snoqualmie Pass also have solid traffic backups on Memorial Day.

What to do to help ease your road trips? The State DOT suggests leaving either very early or late on Friday or early on Saturday for both the ferries and on the highways to avoid the peak times. Your return trip can occur late on Sunday or either quite early or late on Monday. That kind of strategy may help ease your travel anxiety.

Unfortunately, gas prices have soared to around an average of $3.50 per gallon across the state, a bit more than a dollar above prices during 2020’s Memorial Day Weekend.

On a brighter note though, the weather for this Memorial Day Weekend promises plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures across the entire state. No matter where you go or what you do this holiday weekend, enjoy it. We all deserve it.

North Sound Meteorologist Ted Buehner worked more than 40 years for the National Weather Service (NWS) from 1977 to 2018. He is now an Everett Post Media team member. Together with Everett Post Weather Minute Podcasts, he provides morning and afternoon commute traffic and weather updates on both KRKO and KXA Radio, and sports reporting on KRKO.