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Jones Beach air show practice canceled

Aerobatic pilot Sean Tucker and Newsday reporter Tania

Aerobatic pilot Sean Tucker and Newsday reporter Tania Lopez fly over Long Island. (May 24, 2012) Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Low cloud cover and some drizzle prevented practice flights Friday by the demonstration teams scheduled to perform this weekend at the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach, a state parks spokesman said.

The Blue Angels, scheduled to take to the skies at 2 p.m. called off their practice session just after 1:30 p.m., said State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation spokesman George Gorman.

At about 2 p.m. Friday the cloud ceiling in the area was about 800 feet, said Dan Hofmann, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Upton.

Saturday's forecast holds more promise, Gorman said.

"We're hoping the fog will burn off early, and then we'll be good to go," he said.

Indeed, Saturday's cloud ceiling is expected to reach a few thousand feet by about 9 a.m., Hofmann said, based on Friday afternoon's projections, with Sunday's cloud cover likely to burn off even more readily. Still, there is a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms both days, Hofmann said.

According to their web site, the Blue Angels need at least three nautical miles of visibility and a cloud ceiling of 1,500 feet -- or 1,000 feet with Federal Aviation Administration approval -- to perform a "flat" show with limited maneuvers.

National Weather Service meteorologist Tim Morrin said that on Saturday and Sunday air show enthusiasts may wake up to fog, low cloud cover and possible drizzle. But that cloud cover is expected to rise, he said, leading to sunnier afternoons with temperatures in the mid 70s.

The air show flight schedule is supposed to run between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and if the skies don't clear before that time frame, that schedule would be adjusted accordingly, Gorman said.

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