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An Air Show stopper? Rain could ground, delay Jones Beach staple

Per usual, spectators at this weekend's Bethpage Air

Per usual, spectators at this weekend's Bethpage Air Show will be looking towards the sky for fighter jets and parachutists, but also, a break in the bad weather. Credit: Barry Sloan

With rain in the forecast over the weekend, patrons, pilots, parachutists and Bethpage Air Show organizers will all be looking toward the clouds and hoping to catch a break.

Assuming there's a respite from the bad weather, the two-day air show at Jones Beach State Park — back with crowds on the sand after the pandemic shuttered last year's performance — can start late, park officials said Thursday.

"The schedule is adjusted or paused after an evaluation of weather conditions," George Gorman, Long Island regional director, state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said by email. "Through the years, on occasion we have had delayed starts of the Air Show and the show has concluded sooner than scheduled due to weather issues."

So, with the weather in doubt, here are some things to know before heading out for 2021's version of the annual, unofficial curtain raiser for summer on Long Island:

  • Planning to get a Friday preshow glimpse of pilots practicing above Jones Beach? It might be a good idea to get there early. There is a 30% chance of showers after 4 p.m., increasing to 100% at night, the National Weather Service said.
  • On Saturday, keep that jacket and umbrella handy. The calendar will say "May 29" but the weather will feel more like late March. The forecast calls for a 80% chance of rain, with winds of up to 30 mph possible, and a high topping out at an un-air-show-like 53 degrees, the National Weather Service said.
  • The Sunday forecast is not much better, with a 60% chance of rain.
  • If Saturday’s show is rained out, the livestreaming planned for that day will be moved to Sunday if that day's show isn't canceled.
  • If either show is canceled — grounding popular air show staples like the Air Force Thunderbirds and the Army Golden Knights parachutists — the $10 event passes can be returned in exchange for two free passes to visit any state park.

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