LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU!
Anna and Dan Robillard of Las Cruces took their 5-year-old daughter, Ruby, to watch the Special Shape Rodeo mass ascension on Friday, giving her a better view from the shoulders of her father. Balloonists and balloon watchers alike should be pleased with today’s weather forecast as the closing weekend of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta continues. See story, Page A7. For more Balloon Fiesta photos, go to ABQJournal.com.
Balloonists and spectators alike should be pleased with the weather forecast for the closing weekend of the 47th annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Roger Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Albuquerque office, said winds this morning should be less than 5 mph with partly cloudy skies. By the time Dawn Patrol launches, the temperature should be in the low 50s and climbing to the upper 50s by the time the mass ascension gets well under way. Today’s high is expected to reach about 70 degrees by 3 p.m., Smith said.
A weak upper level system that’s moving into western New Mexico is setting Albuquerque up for a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms for Saturday night. “It’s hit or miss,” Smith said, but if the showers do materialize “they could be accompanied by wind guests of up to 20 mph.”
Sunday morning has pilots and fiesta goers looking at cloudy skies and light winds from the south or southwest ranging from 5-10 mph. The temperature should be about 50 degrees when Dawn Patrol launches, and slowly warming to the upper 50s by 11 a.m., Smith said. The chance of rain will increase to about 40 percent by early afternoon, he said.
People who held on to their tickets from Thursday night’s Special Shape Glowdeo, canceled due to weather conditions, can use those tickets for any of the remaining day or night sessions.
Fiesta officials are hoping to avoid a repeat of snags for closing weekend like those that occurred on opening day.
For one thing, a record 21,000 parkand-ride tickets were sold. By the
time the opening day mass ascension started, hundreds of people were still at the park-and-ride lots waiting for buses, which didn’t come, because they, like many vehicles, were caught in traffic.
To relieve the pressure, same day park-and-ride ticket sales will no longer be available to purchase online; they must now be purchased at the park-andride lots.
Additional Albuquerque police officers will be on hand for the rest of the fiesta to direct traffic at key intersections along heavily traveled entrance and exit routes, and a concerted effort will be made to ensure that traffic signals are set properly.
The park-and-ride buses will also be positioned more effectively at the fiesta turnaround area, officials said, in hopes of getting buses out more quickly so they can do more runs between the ride lots and the fiesta grounds.
Thousands filled Balloon Fiesta Park for Friday night’s Special Shape Glowdeo, the first successful nighttime glow of this year’s fiesta.