Indy organizers stay positive in face of downpour

Wet Indy fans walk through the paddock area in the rain. (Perry Mah/QMI AGENCY)

Wet Indy fans walk through the paddock area in the rain. (Perry Mah/QMI AGENCY)

Jeff Cummings, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:10 PM ET

A deluge of rain Friday won’t keep race fans away from a number of big summertime festivals this weekend, including the Indy, organizers say.

Edmonton was hit with roughly 37 mm of rain as of noon on Friday, but Environment Canada forecasters say some showers, mixed in with a bit of sunshine, are only expected in the forecast for the next few days.

The deluge caused some organizers, including those with Race Week Edmonton, to move Friday night’s Stray Cats concert into the Yellowhead Brewery at 10229 105 St.

“(Friday’s) rain just made it impossible to have the event outside,” said Sue Heuman, a volunteer with Race Week Edmonton.

“This is really too bad because it took months and months of effort that have gone into creating the festival.”

But Heuman says the rain won’t keep race fans away from enjoying some entertainment on and off the Indy’s race track, and the central party zone at Rice Howard Way downtown.

And she’s right.

Greg Pearce, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, says an upper low that has caused all of the bipolar weather in recent days will be heading northeastward.

Showers are expected Saturday, but sunshine, combined with temperatures hovering above the 20-degree mark, are expected for Sunday’s big race, said Pearce.

And Friday’s unusually wet weather didn’t scare festival-goers away from the city’s largest summertime event of the year, the Capital EX.

Imran Gill, a spokesman for the massive festival, says crowds were still pouring into the midway, and organizers didn’t have to shut down any midway rides.

“We are expecting thousands of Edmontonians to still come out and enjoy the event,” said Gill.

“There are still amazing attractions for everybody, rain or shine.”

July has been a wet month. Pearce says Edmonton has received 123.6 mm of rain so far this month.

That’s way past the average for July at 95.2 mm, but that’s still way shy of the monthly record set in 1953 at 191 mm, Pearce says.

Environment Canada issued several rainfall warnings north of the city in areas near Westlock, Barrhead, and Athabasca. And tornado watches were issued for areas east of the city, including Vegreville, Redwater, Lloydminster and Smokey Lake.

Meanwhile, the unusually wet weather could present some problems for city parks, says Donna Brown, an instructor with NAIT’s landscape architectural technology program.

She says the city could be spending more money this summer to deal with a huge abundance of weeds, which thrives in wet and humid weather.

On the other hand, Brown says city trees in boulevards and parks are getting much needed moisture after years of drought-like conditions.


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