Severe weather puts a damper on Balloon Festival, Salem Fair eve - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Severe weather puts a damper on Balloon Festival, Salem Fair events

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Severe weather grounded pilots at the Lexington Sunrise Rotary / Cornerstone Bank Balloon Rally on Thursday. Heavy rains, lightning and flooding hit parts of Southwest Virginia. Pilots monitor conditions such as lightning, wind speed and visibility. If the weather forecast calls for severe weather, they said it is a good bet to play it safe and not launch.

"What happens in this kind of situation is that we get down drafts and the balloon is just a big hot air bubble" said Kenny Shumate, Hot Air Balloon Pilot. "When you get that down draft it will actually push you down."

Severe weather caused safety concerns as heavy rain lead to flooding, slick roads and accidents. There were reports of several accidents including a truck that went off the road along I-81. Mother nature's wrath also left thousands without power. Utility crews spent hours working to fix downed lines.

Looking ahead to July 4th at the balloon festival, pilots and local emergency crews continue to monitor weather conditions. They hope to see these gray skies filled with colorful balloons and fireworks for Independence Day.

Bad weather also caused the Salem Fair to shut down from about 6:25pm to 7:25pm on Thursday, said Carey Harveycutter, Fair Manager. He said crews encouraged people to go into the Salem Civic Center until the weather improved. Harveycutter said the rides continued after about an hour.
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