The Absolute Worst Summer Travel Weather

Forget winter. Summer, too, has it's own inclement travel weather.

July 12, 2015

Summer is vacation season, and we all know that weather can make or break a vacation. But just as important as the weather you'll have at your destination is the weather you'll have when traveling to that destination. If your travel weather includes any one of the following conditions (whose occurrence peaks in summer) expect your getaway to get off to a rough start.

1
Turbulence (If by Air)

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When traveling by air, turbulence can turn the "friendly skies" unfriendly real quick, especially during the warmer months when the sun heats more efficiently. As the ground is heated more in some spots than others, the heated air pockets (or "thermals") rise into the cooler air aloft and create an invisible roller-coaster track which causes the aircraft to shake, dip and rise, and make the plane feel as if it's about to crash or break apart.

Want a greater guarantee of a smooth flight? Then book early morning flights -- you're more likely to have a smoother flight since the sun hasn't had a chance to heat the air enough to .  

2
Severe Thunderstorms (If by Land or Air)

An airliner caught in a lightning storm. Erik Simonsen/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

A thunderstorm can "set you on edge" even when sheltered from it indoors -- but get caught driving or flying into a storm and it can be even more unnerving.

At 35,000 feet in the air, a storm's lightning and turbulence can threaten the smoothness and safety of your flight. Conditions aren't much better at ground level where torrential rains can make roadways slick and reduce visibility to near zero. And if the storm includes hail, your car can be damaged.

While thunderstorms happen in every season, they're most frequent and most severe in summer. The increased sun angle (the angle at which sunlight strikes the Earth) means that the sun heats the Earth's surface more directly. More solar radiation means there's more heat energy residing in the air to fuel convection -- a necessary ingredient for storm development.

Not only should you be careful of traveling during lightning storms, you should never do these 6 things either...

3
Hurricanes (If by Sea)

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Not only is June 1 the first day of meteorological summer, but it's also the start of the Atlantic hurricane season. Since hurricanes essentially feed off of warm ocean waters, hurricane activity increases during the summer -- especially the late summer when the ocean waters have had time to reach their peak warmth after having spent the entire summer absorbing the sun's heat.

While hurricanes are an immense threat to cruise ships (both travel by water), they can also affect your island or coastal vacation spot if they make landfall there.

Planning a cruise or beach getaway from June 1 - November 30? Here's how to hurricane-proof your vacation.

4
High Temperatures (If by Land)

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Planning a summer road trip? While you're likely hoping for clear, sunny skies (which make for excellent driving weather), if temperatures are too hot, your mode of transportation can become a death trap.

Each year, dozens of children, the disabled, the elderly, and pets who are left in parked cars die from hyperthermia (overheating of the body). According to studies, the temperature inside a parked vehicle, even on an 80-degree day, can rise to an unsafe 94 °F in as little as 2-3 minutes. As sunlight strikes the dark-colored heat-absorbing objects inside of a car (the dashboard, steering wheel, etc.) it can heat them to over 200 °F. These objects then heat the adjacent air to unhealthy temperatures -- even if the windows are slightly "cracked." So when making pit stops, always leave the A/C running and the car supervised by a licensed adult. Or leave no baby, child, cat, or dog behind.