Rain likely for Memorial Day weekend

The Memorial Day weekend could be damp at times, with a good chance of showers and isolated thunderstorms daily through Monday.

On a brighter note for holiday travelers, most road construction across the state has been suspended for the weekend, and gas prices, though up in recent weeks, are still well below last year's level.

The National Weather Service said a low pressure area meandering through the Gulf of Mexico will pump moist air into Georgia all weekend.

The chance of rain is 60 percent Saturday and 50 percent Sunday and Monday, forecasters said.

Highs across metro Atlanta will be in the mid-70s Saturday, upper 70s Sunday and low 80s on Memorial Day.

Travelers headed to the Georgia coast on what is traditionally the kick-off of summer will also want to keep an umbrella handy, as forecasts call for a 70 percent chance of rain Saturday and Sunday, decreasing to 50 percent on Monday.

The outlook isn't much better for the Florida panhandle, where the chance of weekend rain also ranges from 70 percent on Saturday to 50 percent on Monday.

At least it won't cost as much to get to those beaches as it did last Memorial Day, when metro Atlanta gas prices averaged $3.86 a gallon.

Friday morning, Atlanta's average price for a gallon of regular unleaded was $2.26 a gallon, with prices ranging from $2.13 at a Costco in Duluth to $2.69 at a Chevron in Marietta, according to AtlantaGasPrices.com, a Web site that tracks local prices.

The state Department of Transportation has suspended construction-related lane closures on all interstate and major state routes until 10 p.m. on Monday, according to DOT spokesman Paul Marshall.

One notable exception is on I-16, the major route between Macon and Savannah.

The westbound lanes of I-16 remain shut down at U.S. 441 near Dublin while crews make emergency repairs to the Ga. 257 bridge over the interstate.

A tractor-trailer hauling an excavator struck the overpass Tuesday morning, damaging the bridge beams.

The Georgia State Patrol predicted that as many as 18 motorists will be killed and another 875 injured over the 78-hour holiday period that begins at 6 p.m. on Friday and ends at midnight on Memorial Day.

During the same period last year, 14 people died and 721 were injured.

The highest number of traffic deaths on Georgia roads during the Memorial Day holiday weekend occurred in 2005, when 32 people were killed. The lowest number since the State Patrol began keeping statistics in 1969 was in 1979 and in 2007, when 10 people were killed.