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The Easter travel weekend is upon us, but weekend travel plans could be impacted by soaring gas prices and the eastern half of the state still recovering from tornadoes that hit nearly a week ago. Gas prices are up $1 over last Easter.

“Price of gas has got me staying at home this year,” said Debbie Howell, who was pumping gas at a station off Friendly Avenue. While Howell will be having a “staycation”, Kelli Thompson-White and her 18 month old, Kaiden, are hitting the road.

“I’m going to take my son to Fayetteville, then I’m going to come back, then I’m supposed to go to Goldsboro with my boyfriend for the weekend,” said Thompson-White. And the AAA says they won’t be alone. It’s been a busy week at the motor club.

“Everybody still seems to be traveling,” said Linda Anderson, the Sales Manager at AAA in Winston-Salem. “The beach is very hot for this weekend, places like Asheville, Gatlinburg.” And, the Highway Patrol’s also expecting a busy weekend.

“Everybody’s ready to get to the vacation, and once it’s over, everybody’s ready to get home,” said Sgt. Lee Johnson with the NC Highway Patrol, “but just keep in mind that getting there safely is the main thing.” And of course, parts of the eastern half of the state, where folks will travel through headed to the coast or Outer Banks, are still cleaning up after last weekend’s tornadoes.

While the state DOT says all major roads are open, some smaller ones are still being cleared of debris. “Just look ahead. You never know when something may not have fallen last weekend but it’s fixing to,” said Johnson.And despite the challenges, most folks are looking forward to a good weekend. “I’m going to a friend’s house. They’re having a picnic,” said Howell.

“I mean, you have to do what you have to do,” said Thompson-White, “ just have to dig deep in your pocket for it.” Thursday afternoon the AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report website showed gas prices in North Carolina averaging $3.76 a gallon for unleaded regular, compared to around $2.76 this time last year. The national average is $3.84.

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