All eyes will be on the sky Saturday for the first day of Thunder Over the Sound air show, as people watch for the Air Force Thunderbirds and the weather.
The air show starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at Keelser Air Force Base and moves to the beach at 1 p.m. The Thunderbirds are scheduled to be the final performance each day starting at 3:30 p.m.
The weather could turn stormy and possibly change the schedule. Meteorologists at Keesler Air Force Base are working with the Thunderbirds, said Sarah Loicano with the 81st Training Wing at Keesler, who is spokeswoman for the airshow.
The public will be notified of any change in the 3:30 p.m. start time for the Thunderbirds through the Sun Herald and through Keesler and Biloxi social media.
“Obviously, safety of the pilots and our visitors will be the No. 1 concern,” said Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, “but we’re hopeful that we can get two days of great shows in. We had 150,000 people in town last year for the Blue Angels, and we’re expecting similar crowds for this weekend.”
He said the final call of whether to fly will not be made until Saturday. There’s an 90 percent chance of thunderstorms on Saturday, and strong winds are the greatest threat, the National Weather Service in Slidell warns.
Up to 1 to 2 inches of rain could fall, but storms are expected to be short-lived and not widespread.
The Mississippi Coast could start seeing rain around 10 a.m. Saturday, and the greatest storm impact is expected between 6-9 p.m.
“This is a fast-moving system, so the rain will happen in intense spurts,” said meteorologist Fred Zeigler. “Wind damage is another thing people have to look out for.”
The potential impact of this storm system include:
- Winds up to 60 mph
- Hail up greater than 1 inch in diameter
- One or two isolated tornadoes
- Heavy rain
“All we can do it let the community know what’s in the forecast. Local officials and agencies make the final call on event details,” Zeigler added.
Sunday is expected to be a better day for the air show with a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms before 1 p.m.
Keesler Air Force Base is monitoring the forecast and will “make a determination to alter the show performances or show schedule as necessary,” according to a post on the base’s Facebook page.
The SunHerald will update this story with any schedule changes, delays or cancellations.
- Saturday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms, then showers and possibly a thunderstorm after 1 p.m. High near 80. Calm wind becoming south around 5 mph in the morning. Chance of precipitation is 90 percent. New rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible.
- Saturday night: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm before 10 p.m, then a chance of showers. Low around 64. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
- Sunday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1 p.m. Mostly sunny, with a high near 85. Calm wind.
- Sunday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 63. Calm wind.
— NWS as of 4 p.m. Friday