With a potentially spotty weather forecast looming over this weekend’s OC Air Show, flight crews are keeping a close eye on conditions that can change quickly and dramatically.
Chris Dirato, director of public relations for the OC Air show, explained that delays or cancellations can occur when poor visibility caused by weather impacts the “ceiling,” or the height at which visibility is obscured.
Using the weekend’s headlining performers as an example, he described the requirements needed by performers.
“The minimum you would need for the Blue Angels, for example, is a 600-foot ceiling to take off and a 1,000-foot ceiling to perform,” he said. “It all comes down to the ceiling, which can be impacted by fog, rain and storms, but that’s what you’re always going by in terms of whether the show can go on.”
Dirato said each morning, the show’s airboss has a pilot’s briefing with representatives from each performing group, with one of the topics being anticipated weather conditions for the day.
“He’ll detail the conditions anticipated for when the show commences, as well as throughout the show, so it’s a constant, evolving process,” he said. “They’re staying on top of the weather to learn whether they’re degrading during the show, and they’re prepared to make spot judgements if things change.
“Unless the meteorologist states that there’s going to be zero precipitation or cloud cover, we’ll constantly be watching it,” he said.
Causing potential concern for the scheduled aerial acrobatics, the National Weather Service is predicting a mostly cloudy weekend with a chance of showers and thunderstorms on Saturday, and a slightly smaller chance Sunday.
But judging what the ceiling will be at a given point during the weekend involves little more than educated hunches, said Wayne Albright, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wakefield, Virginia.
His own hunch gave cause for optimism to anyone traveling to town for the Air Show.
“My guess is that we’ll have ceilings a little higher than 1,000 to 2,000 feet Saturday, but it’s really difficult to determine this far out,” he said. “We’re dealing with warm, humid air and the ceilings can vary quickly, but generally speaking they’re higher in the afternoon than in the morning.”
Albright did warn, however, that things can change dramatically during the course of mere hours.
“It can vary thousands and thousands of feet in a single day,” he said. “Summertime around here, it can be 300 feet in the morning and 5,000 in the afternoon.”
Rainy weather alternatives
With the chance of precipitation or other poor weather conditions potentially dampening spirits and the air alike this weekend, here’s some but not all of the indoor activities for Ocean City locals and travelers to consider.
Ocean City is home to several mini-golf ranges, and indoor options are available in case of inclement weather.
Lost Galaxy Golf, at 33rd Street and the Old Pro Golf indoor course at 136th Street both offer sheltered putt-putt choices.
Anyone age 8 and up can strap on sensor vests and arm themselves with light-emitting pistols to zap each other to their heart’s content at Lasertron on 33rd Street. There’s also Game World near 146th Street.
At Escape Room’s Second Street and Coastal Highway locations, players are given 60 minutes to escape the “mystery room” by solving puzzles and finding hidden clues as the clock ticks down.
Old time photos
A time-honored Ocean City tradition, Flashback Old Time Photos lets you and your families live out the dream of being immortalized in film as cowboys, pirates or saloon girls at their First Street and Somerset Street Boardwalk locations, as well as their 120th Street location.
Catch a flick
“Wonder Woman,” “The Mummy” and “Cars 3” are all now showing at the Fox Gold Coast Mall Movie Theater on Coastal Highway for water-logged visitors eager for a roof over their heads and a bucket of popcorn.