LOOK OUT BE­HIND YOU!

Albuquerque Journal - - FRONT PAGE - BY RICK NATHANSON

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.

JIM THOMP­SON/JOUR­NAL

ROBERTO E. ROS­ALES/JOUR­NAL

Thou­sands filled Bal­loon Fiesta Park for Fri­day night’s Spe­cial Shape Glowdeo, the first suc­cess­ful night­time glow of this year’s fiesta.

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