Jones Beach air show canceled Saturday

According to performers and officials, the only thing more exciting than the performances at Jones Beach Memorial Day weekend air show is how efficiently the area was repaired after the devastation caused by superstorm Sandy. Videojournalist: Jim Staubitser (May 24, 2013)

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The Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach has been canceled for Saturday because of bad weather.

It's the first time in the 10-year history of the event that a full day of performances has been canceled.

State parks officials made the decision at a 7 a.m. briefing for the pilots with the National Weather Service.

"We've canceled," said George Gorman Jr., State Parks regional director. "The National Weather Service briefed the pilots on the weather conditions."

The forecast calls for rain on and off through the day with the possibility of thunderstorms in the afternoon with winds forecast to be 25 mph with gusts up to 35.

"Many of the performers could not perform because of the wind and the possibility of ice" at higher altitudes.

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"We determined that it is in the best interest of the public and the performers to cancel for today," Gorman said.

"The air show will go on tomorrow" as scheduled, starting at 10 a.m. and running until 3 p.m.

An estimated 400,000 people turned out for the 2012 show.

Friday, all of the performers for the 2013 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach managed to get in their practice runs despite wind, overcast conditions and occasional showers, Gorman said.

Lack of visibility, vertically or horizontally, affects all performers to some extent. Gorman said each performer and aircraft is different, but generally no performers will fly if visibility is less than 3,000 feet vertically from the ground or a 2.5-mile radius horizontally from the Central Mall.

"Wind most affects the parachute teams," Gorman said. "With thunderstorms, we stop and wait them out" and the beach is cleared to avoid anyone being struck by lightning.

Saturday’s high is forecast to be 53 degrees in Islip, said Joe Pollina, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Upton. There is an 80 percent chance of rain during the day and a 20 percent chance Saturday night, he said, but Sunday and Monday will be dry.

In particular, Sunday will be “dry and partly sunny” with high temperatures in the 60s, Pollina said.

Check bethpageairshow.com for up-to-date information on the performance schedule.

With Scott Eidler

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