Start dreaming of a wet (not white) Christmas

Many Americans traveling for the Christmas holiday may face wet and windy storms along the way.

Lashing rains, high winds and thunderstorms look set to mess up holiday travel plans for millions of Americans this week.

Many of the nearly 100 million holiday travelers expected to hit the road, head to airports and climb aboard trains in the coming days may have to negotiate rain or snow forecast to fall across large swaths of the U.S.

Travelers from the Rockies to the Upper Great Lakes could see snow, while showers and thunderstorms across the Mississippi Valley could strengthen Tuesday into Wednesday and move to the southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southern New England, according to the National Weather Service.

But meteorologist Amy Seeley said various computer models showed differing forecasts Monday and "aren't in agreement yet."

"The Gulf Coast will see the worst of the severe weather on Tuesday, with thunderstorms, as much as 3 to 5 inches of rain and damaging winds right across Louisiana and into southern Georgia and northern Florida," The Weather Channel's lead meteorologist Roy Lucksinger told "The conditions are right for possible isolated tornadoes, too."

More than 90 percent of some 98.6 million holiday travelers are expected to get to and from home by car during the next two weeks, while about 6 percent are expected to fly, according to Julie Hall, spokeswoman for the AAA motor club.

AAA expects car travel to be up more than 4 percent this year compared to 2013. Hall says that's at least partly due to lower gas prices.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol will begin the 2014 Christmas holiday enforcement period at 6 p.m. Tuesday and conclude at midnight Christmas night.

With the expected increase in holiday travel due to low fuel prices, The Sun Herald reports ( ) all available manpower will be used to establish checkpoints to prevent impaired driving and saturation patrols to combat distracted and reckless driving.

In 2013, MHP investigated four fatalities on state and federal highway systems during the holiday period. Motorists are asked to make responsible decisions that not only ensure safe travel, but also allows families to reach their intended destination.

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