Cape Fear tourism officials anticipate heavy rain during Memorial Day weekend

 Friday, May 26, 2023 


While rough surf and heavy rain is expected to dampen the forecast for travel in Cape Fear region this Memorial Day weekend, tourism officials have their “fingers crossed” that the tourists will get some time in the sun.

As of 2pm, the National Weather Service was predicting that showers will increase Friday with the heaviest rain expected Friday night and Saturday.

The forecast said the rain is expected to end Sunday morning. Memorial Day is Monday.

Rain isn’t the only hazardous weather expected during the weekend – the Wilmington NWS office also said wind gusts up to 45 mph are possible along the coast, 35 mph inland.

Kim Hufham, President and CEO of Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau, said she is still optimistic for the kickoff weekend of what is typically the area’s busiest tourism time.

The prediction from AAA is that they are anticipating record-breaking travel this year.

Hufham’s optimism goes beyond the number of visitors planning to come to town. Their still have lots of things to do even if the weather is bad, whether it is shopping or one of their many attractions.

With Memorial Day being a three-day weekend, people made their plans and they’re coming no matter what.

Although the numbers are not in yet, Hufham anticipates that the Room Occupancy Tax for April will be “flat.”  Although people still visited the area, rainfall took its toll.

Jeff Bourk, Director of Wilmington International Airport (ILM) anticipates an elevated travel period that could face additional challenges because of weather conditions.

So he encourages people to check with their airlines for possible changes in scheduling.

Bourk hopes travelers will give themselves extra time to avoid adding unneeded stress to their travel plans.

ILM continues to expand, offering five inaugural flights within the next 30 days that include travel to Tampa and West Palm Beach, Florida; Wilmington, Delaware; Minneapolis; and Boston.

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