Lake effect snow advisory for holiday travel

As holiday travelers head out across Upper Michigan, they’ll have some severe weather to contend with tonight and into Christmas Eve.

A fresh layer of snow continues to pile up in the far western and north central regions of the U.P. thanks to a lake effect system. The National Weather Service says a lake effect snow advisory will continue until tomorrow morning, but the weather isn’t expected to put much of a damper on travel.

“With lake effect snow, one of the bigger things is the fact that it can vary so much over a short distance, where one minute, you can see blue skies or it’s clear out and the next minute you can’t see the car in front of you,” National Weather Service meteorologist Justin Titus said. “It’s good to just be aware that that is a possibility and to drive accordingly, to allow yourself enough space between you and the car in front of you, to not go too fast for conditions. Just leave yourself enough time to get somewhere safely without having to rush.”

TripAdvisor says about 45% of Americans will be traveling this year. More than half of them, 53%, plan to drive. Forty-two percent will fly to their destination, and that’s down 4% from last year. One reason for that: economy airfare has risen by 9%, while December gasoline prices have dropped by 4% since 2012.

Technology is playing a bigger role in travel as well. Seventy-one percent of those surveyed said they will use a smart phone or tablet device to assist with holiday travel, including checking weather, researching restaurants and using navigation features.