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Stormy forecast looms over weekend St. Patrick's parades

East Islip, N.Y. --- March 7, 2010 --

East Islip, N.Y. --- March 7, 2010 -- The ExploreLI Street Team was at the East Islip St. Patrick's Day parade. Did they catch you on camera? Photo Credit: X-Team Photo/

Despite this weekend's ominous forecast, organizers of scheduled St. Patrick's Day parades say most of them will go on, rain or shine.

Heavy rain and high winds are expected over Long Island for all of Saturday and much of Sunday. Several inches of rainfall are possible, with a flood watch in effect Saturday morning through Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Regardless, Friday's Bay Shore-Brightwaters parade will step off at 2 p.m. as planned.

"We're like Energizer bunnies," said Bobbi Baker, the parade committee's secretary-treasurer. "We have to pay our bands, anyway. They might as well march."

Baker said attendance might fall, but people would be able to manage. "Two years ago, we had the same weather forecast," Baker said. "Most of the participants got wet, but they came anyway."

The Huntington parade will still be held Sunday, starting at 2 p.m., organizers said.

"For the guys marching, it'll be really tough," said Rich McGrath, Huntington's parade committee standing chairman. "But they do it."

Bayport-Blue Point parade committee member Tom Reid said the parade has been canceled only once, for a blizzard in the 1990s. As long as there isn't a hurricane warning, Reid said the show would likely go on.

Organizers of at least two parades won't take any chances.

The Westhampton Beach St. Patrick's Day Parade will be moved two weeks, from Saturday to March 27, due to the forecast, said Tim Laube, the parade committee's president."I just couldn't see sending little kids and seniors out into that weather," Laube said.

The St. James St. Patrick's Day Parade originally scheduled for Saturday has been postponed until March 21. For more information, call 516-658-5268.

Rain on St. Pat's Day parade?

Friday: Cloudy, periods of light rain, winds 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph. Mid- to high 40s.

Saturday: Rain -- heavy at times -- with winds 25 to 35 mph, gusts up to 40 mph. High 40s.

Sunday: Rain likely, breezy. High 40s.


- NOMAAN MERCHANT

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