Travelers in Washington and nationally got a break from the weather Thursday, the busiest day of the season in airports and on highways.
In the Tri-Cities, where flights were canceled Tuesday because of fog, planes were able to fly Thursday in spite of patchy fog. In Seattle, a Sea-Tac Airport spokesman said flights were flowing smoothly thanks to cooperative weather.
And though the state's highways suffered from some congestion, the weather did not cause any problems.
Snoqualmie Pass, the main east-west crossing between central and western Washington, reported occasional light snow but bare and wet roadways without restrictions eastbound or westbound.
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For today, the National Weather Service has issued a freezing fog warning through noon for the entire Columbia Basin, Mid-Columbia and foothills of the Blue Mountains. Patchy freezing fog is expected to hang around through tonight, and motorists are advised to watch for slippery spots on overpasses and bridges.
The Tri-Cities will have a partly white Christmas from snow already on the ground, but little chance of rain or snow is predicted. Low temperatures are expected to dip to the mid-20s to low 30s. The upper Col-umbia Basin around Moses Lake has a 20 percent chance of light snow.
A mix of sun and clouds is expected today in the Mid-Columbia, with more clouds moving in for Christmas Day.
A chance of freezing rain is predicted in the Tri-Cities area Saturday and Sunday, and Snoqualmie Pass might have snow showers. But no big storms are expected.
Across the nation, fair weather helped make the holiday sojourn a not-so-painful experience, even with more people on the move than last year, but travelers' luck might be running out.
A storm was expected to bring snow and ice to parts of the heartland today, deliver a rare white Christmas to Nashville on Saturday, and perhaps sock swaths of the Northeast on Sunday.
"People who are going to Grandma's house," said Bobby Boyd, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Nashville, "need to get going."
Eric and Tatiana Chodkowski of Boston were driving Thursday with their kids, ages 2 and 4, to see relatives in New York. They said forecasts for snow Sunday made them wonder whether they would make it back then, as planned.
They deemed the roads congested but manageable Thursday, and most people found the nation's airports to be the same way.
Planes took off into windy but accommodating skies at New York's LaGuardia Airport as Steve Kent prepared to fly to Denver for a family ski trip, scoffing at the puny lines.
"I think Thanksgiving is harder," he said.
The Air Transport Association expects 44.3 million people on U.S. flights between Dec. 16 and Jan. 5 -- up 3 percent for the same period a year ago but still below pre-recession travel volume. The average ticket price is $421, up by 5 percent.
The spread-out nature of year-end holidays means things won't be quite so cramped as at Thanksgiving, when practically everyone is on the move the same day.
"We have a lot of folks who already may have taken off of work," said Troy Green, a spokesman for AAA. "They may have arrived at their destination before today."
Mike Lukosavich of Harrison Township, Mich., was surprised the first leg of his trip was moving so smoothly when he stopped at a rest area on the Ohio Turnpike in Elmore, Ohio, near Toledo.
He, his wife and their 8-month-old daughter were heading to see family in Parkersburg, W.Va.
The AAA has expected overall travel to rise about 3 percent this year, with more than 92 million people planning to go more than 50 miles sometime between now and Jan. 2. More than 90 percent said they would be driving.
Maria Romero, a cashier at the Chevron Food Mart just off Interstate 15 in Barstow, Calif., said she has seen an increase in travelers there, especially families and people from out of state.
"It's wonderful. We need it," she said. "The busier, the better."