HUNTSVILLE — Rain was a pest, but mother nature cooperated somewhat during the Town of Huntsville's annual Firemen's Fourth Festival Wednesday and Thursday.
Off-and-on showers and thunderstorms made a mess of the Huntsville Mall and kept festival-goers scrambling for cover, but the axis of the heaviest rain moved west of the Cumberland Plateau, sparing the area the flooding that was feared possible.
Even though the National Weather Service had hoisted a flood watch across the entire region well in advance, Huntsville Mayor George W. Potter said early in the day Thursday that all events would take place as scheduled, due to the difficult logistics involved with rescheduling.
The weather limited both entries and viewers at the annual 4th of July parade Thursday morning, but only a light rain fell as the mix of fire trucks, pageant winners and other entries made their way along Baker Highway and around the mall shortly before lunch time.
Light rain continued — at times becoming moderate — as the annual fireworks show got underway Thursday night. The combination of low barometric pressure and damp air created a smoky mess as the fireworks were shot from the Huntsville Middle School football field, completely obscuring the explosions from view at times, depending on the vantage point at different locations around the downtown area. However, by the time the grand finale began shortly before 10:30 p.m., the rain stopped and the winds shifted, clearing the smoke and providing an excellent view of the finale from most areas surrounding the mall.
The previous day, weather proved to be only a slight factor for a vintage car show and firemen's competition that kicked off the festivities.
On Friday, the National Weather Service made the call to extend the flood watch through 8 a.m. Sunday morning, as rainy weather continued to plague the holiday weekend. Heavy rains were in the forecast for Saturday, when Rodney Atkins was scheduled to headline the Stars & Stripes event at Trail's End Campground near Huntsville.
Tickets for the concert remain on sale at Trail's End Campground.
The National Weather Service's forecast for Saturday is for an 80 percent chance of rain, with thunderstorms possible as precipitation develops during the afternoon hours, and temperatures in the low-to-mid 70s, dropping into the upper 60s, during the evening hours when the Trail's End event will be taking place. As has been the case throughout the holiday period, meteorologists expect the rain in waves, with periodical breaks in precipitation.