LEWISTON – According to the National Weather Service, a spotty weekend forecast should allow some balloon launchings, with the most optimistic outlook during the day Friday. Weather should also allow the Great Falls Balloon Festival to proceed as scheduled Saturday morning, but rain may interfere with the schedule Saturday night into Sunday morning.

NWS meteorologist Jim Hayes said Lewiston could get some rain late Friday, “but it looks like it will hold off” allowing the balloons to lift. Winds for both the 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Friday launches look like they’ll be light, good for ballooning.

The rain is expected to hold off Saturday morning. “There’ll be showers around, but it could be dry in Lewiston.” The forecast shows a stronger possibility of rain Saturday night and Sunday morning, Hayes said.

Any decision to call off any launches won’t be made until right before, said balloon meister Mike Theriault. “The weather can change so quickly. The last 15 to 20 minutes before the launch we take a close look at what the weather is doing,” Theriault said.

Festival officials use several different forecast sources, as well as looking at what the weather is doing on site. “We’ll have a wireless Internet on the field to analyze current weather radar,” Theriault said.

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