Balloon launch weather looks like a go for Stampede

Ideal conditions with calm, clear skies are forecast until Sunday when a cold front is expected to move in.

The six Balloon-A-Thon balloons launch simultaneously from Garrison Friday morning joined by another balloon, far left background, that had launched from another school site.

The six Balloon-A-Thon balloons launch simultaneously from Garrison Friday morning joined by another balloon, far left background, that had launched from another school site. Jeff Horner

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WALLA WALLA — Bright, yes. Breezy, no.

Both which bode well for hot-air balloonists gathering in the Valley over the next few days.

As this year’s Walla Walla Balloon Stampede prepares to take to the air, weather forecasts are promising close to ideal weather.

A high pressure system strengthening over Northern Oregon and Washington should result in clear skies and calm conditions, especially in the morning hours when most balloons will be launching.

“This high pressure is going to hold at least through Sunday,” said Jerry Cummins, Stampede balloonmeister.

Launches are scheduled for 6:30 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday after the morning pilot briefing.

Cummins said that for general purposes ground-level winds cannot exceed 8 mph for launches.

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures will remain above normal through Sunday with highs in the mid-70s to near 90 degrees with generally light winds.

Conditions are expected to begin changing Sunday as an upper level trough and cold front moves into Eastern Washington and Oregon.

This will bring cooler temperatures and a chance of rain, and possibly thunderstorms, to the area Sunday afternoon.

Due to the Stamped, however, a burn ban will be in effect from 6 a.m. Friday through noon Sunday.

All agricultural and residential burns will be banned as well as any special burns, such as roadsides or ditches.

The ban includes all other burning that would normally be allowed without a permit.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.

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