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Dec 20, 2013 12:31 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

Winter weather returns to AZ just in time for holiday travel

TUCSON- With 1.7 million Arizonans set to hit the road between now and the end of 2013, you'll want to budget in some extra travel time.

"For the next week the traffic is going to be horrible everywhere because everyone wants to travel for the holiday," Peggy Koelmel says.

Koelmel and her brother made their way through Tucson Thursday evening, all the way from Kentucky. But they're not traveling for fun, they're traveling for business. "We pick up pets for people who have to move, or who have to go on a flight and they cant take their animals with them," Koelmel says. "Everyone wants to have their pets with them on Christmas."

After hours of traveling, Koelmel says she is exhausted, but they're moving ahead to hopefully avoid Arizona's winter weather mix.

At Tucson International Airport, the fatigue hasn't set in just yet for Private First Class Diana DeGraw. According to AAA Arizona, she is one of about 135,000 Arizonans who will be traveling by plane this holiday season. "I'm just ready to get home for the holidays, celebrate Christmas and see my family," DeGraw says.

She has been training at Ft. Huachuca and hasn't seen her family in Maryland for six months. Even chances of bad weather delays won't get her down. "I've been waiting to get home for six months, so I'm kinda used to waiting," DeGraw says.

Starting Friday, all members of the armed forces will qualify for expedited screening at 100 airports across the country, including TIA.

If a service member has entered their DoD identification number correctly in a flight reservation, they will be permitted access to TSA Pre?TM lanes. The expedited screening will allow service members to keep their footwear on as well as light outerwear, laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry on in select screening lanes. More than 30 million passengers have experienced TSA Pre?TM since it launched in October 2011.

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