June 22, 2018
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Forecast has some Maine communities postponing Fourth of July fireworks, Bangor still on

John Clarke Russ | BDN
John Clarke Russ | BDN
Viewed from atop Hollywood Slots Hotel, thousands watch the Fourth of July fireworks explode over the Penobscot River between Bangor and Brewer.
By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Some communities are weighing whether to call off their fireworks in anticipation of wet weather forecast for Fourth of July night.

The state’s biggest Independence Day celebration — Portland’s “Stars and Stripes Spectacular,” which includes a performance by the Portland Symphony Orchestra and typically draws 50,000 people to the city — will be postponed to Saturday, with activities due to start at the same times, just one day later.

Kennebunk followed suit, announcing it would push its fireworks display back to 9 p.m. Saturday, with the caveat that the winds that day stayed below 15 mph. Lt. Eric O’Brien of the Kennebunk Police Department said the town would announce whether the show would go on by noon Saturday.

Augusta also announced its fireworks show will be postponed to Aug. 2 during the annual AugustaFest celebration. Other July 4 events there are expected to go on.

Jackman called off its fireworks for Friday, postponing the show until Saturday night. The parade is still scheduled to start at 4 p.m. Friday, with children’s games and entertainment to follow at the Town Hall.

The fireworks planned for Camden on Friday night have been canceled. According to the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, the forecast of rain on Friday night and expected rough seas again on Saturday led to the decision to cancel the planned display. The pyrotechnics were to be fired off from a barge in the harbor.

The Chamber said the Thomaston fireworks display is still a go, and all other events planned for Thomaston and Camden during the weekend will be held.

The Camden Rotary Club’s Music by the Sea program, originally set for Camden Harbor Park on Friday, will be held at the Rockport Opera House. All are welcome to this free event, which includes four performances between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Organizers of Bangor’s Fourth of July events hope to launch their fireworks on the Fourth of July in spite of the heavy rain forecast.

“If it’s just rain, we’ll go,” said Doug Damon of the Bangor Breakfast Kiwanis, the group behind Bangor’s annual July 4 celebration.

If there is lightning within 5 miles of the launch site, the fireworks might be called off, Damon said. Organizers plan on putting their heads together at about 7 p.m. to determine whether to go ahead with the fireworks. After that, fuses would need to be set, and after those are in place, there’s no calling off the show, Damon said.

“We’d have to launch whether there are people there to watch the show or not,” Damon said.

In Searsport, town officials decided Thursday to postpone the annual fireworks display at Mosman Park to Saturday evening, according to Selectman Dick Desmarais. The fireworks can’t be set off if the winds exceed 10 mph, he said, so they might be cancelled entirely, depending on the weather.

The other community July 4 activities will remain as scheduled, he said, including 8 a.m. row boat races at the Hamilton Wharf and the 11 a.m. parade.

The National Weather Service said that there is a 70 percent chance of rain on Friday night in Bangor, with half to three-quarters of an inch of accumulation expected. The forecast did not mention a possibility of thunderstorms.

Bangor’s parade should still run as scheduled, starting in Brewer at 11 a.m. and wrapping up in downtown Bangor at about 1 p.m. in what’s expected to be “misty” rain, Damon said.

Portland is hosting a news conference Thursday afternoon about their Fourth of July plans. Their weather outlook is more concerning, with showers and thunderstorms likely, mostly after 5 p.m. Friday.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for a large swath of western and southern Maine. It does not include Penobscot or Piscataquis counties.

The weather service also has issued a small craft advisory and a high surf warning for coastal areas off the Maine coast as Hurricane Arthur works its way off the eastern seaboard Friday night into Saturday morning.

The storm is expected to generate high surf off 5 to 8 feet and increased rip current risk along ocean beaches in Maine and New Hampshire. The highest surf will be Saturday morning, the weather service predicted.

The weather service warned that the high surf and strong rip current will make beaches hazardous. Beachgoers should heed the advice of lifeguards and beach patrols and pay attention to flags and posted signs.

Breaking waves can be much higher than their heights in deep water, the weather service warned, adding that water from large breaking waves can quickly rush up the beach, sweeping people off their feet and dragging them into the water.

The weather service has placed a hazardous weather outlook on Aroostook, Somerset, Piscataquis, Penobscot, Hancock and Washington counties. That’s effective from Thursday through Wednesday, when remnants of Arthur are expected to react with a cold front and bring more rain to the region.

BDN writers Stephen Betts, Abby Curtis, Dawn Gagnon and Seth Koenig contributed to this report.


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