Winds in the forecast for balloon festival weekend

Last week’s rain is being replaced with sunny skies for the 4th Annual Pahrump Balloon Festival this weekend.

However, possible winds could ground some of the events, as Thursday’s media day at Petrack Park, which was supposed to include balloon rides, was canceled due to the wind in the Pahrump Valley.

Caleb Steele, a weather service meteorologist based in Las Vegas, said winds could last throughout the weekend.

“Friday could bring a northwest wind up to 10 mph,” Steele said. “Saturday, the southerly wind could be 10-to-15 mph, with gusts up to 20 mph.”

The wind threshold for optimal ballooning is roughly 8 mph, according to event organizer Vicky Hilling.

Lighter winds are expected Sunday morning, he said. However, a 20 percent chance of rain is being forecast for that day.

Other than the wind, the forecast calls for clear skies with a high of 52 degrees and an overnight low of 33, according to the National Weather Service.

Saturday should remain mostly sunny with a high of 56 and an overnight low of 36.

Clouds will roll in Saturday night, bringing the 20 percent chance of rain, but clearing into mostly sunny by Sunday afternoon. Sunday’s high will be 54 with a low of 37.

The wind follows a weekend of rain that dropped 0.78 inches of rain in the valley, bringing the February total to nearly an inch. The normal range for February is 0.71 inch.

January brought 1.93 inches of rain, well above the normal of 0.70 inches for that month.

Steele said the storms that usually travel further north have found their way to the lower regions.

“We’ve seen a pretty active storm track,” he said. “Weather patterns should be staying more favorable for now.”


7-day forecast

Today: partly cloudy, high 52, low 32

Saturday: partly cloudy, high 57, low 33

Sunday: partly cloudy, chance of rain, high 53, low 36

Monday: clear, high 54, low 35

Tuesday: clear, high 55, low 33

Wednesday: clear, high 57, low 36

Thursday: clear, high 63, low 39

Source: National Weather Service

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