- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 18, 2003

The drizzly, cold weather that kept many Washington area residents indoor or stepping over puddles yesterday relented long enough for military pilots to perform their high-flying maneuvers and help save the annual air show at Andrews Air Force Base.

The gray clouds that had covered the region since Friday had forced organizers to cancel most aerial shows, but Air Force pilots finally took off when visibility reached 4,000 feet.

“They would do a loop, but you couldn’t see them at the top because they were in the clouds,” said public affairs Sgt. Chad Padgett.

However, most of the about 20,000 visitors seemed pleased yesterday just to climb into the various types of planes and wander through a massive C-5 cargo carrier.

Organizers said four years ago the event was held under sunny skies and attracted about 500,000 visitors; 50,000 attended this year.

Most weekend events throughout the region had low attendance.

Mike Byrd, the general manager of the East Potomac Park Golf Course, said that on a typical golf-friendly day the facility hosts about 780 players.

“But we would be lucky to get 300 today,” he said yesterday.

Forecasters expect the dreary weather to break today and temperatures to reach the upper 60s, but they say more rain than normal for this time is likely this month.

The average amount of rainfall for this time in May is 2.19 inches in metropolitan Washington, said Jackie Hale of the National Weather Service. And 3.35 inches is reported to have fallen as of yesterday.

Since December, 19.49 inches have fallen, and the average amount is 14 inches, Miss Hale said.

The additional rain put the Little Falls stretch of the Potomac River into the “flood cautious” stage last night. The stretch was 7.4 feet high yesterday, and a warning is issued when the water rises above 7 feet.

The rainy weather also held back some of the crowds at George Washington University’s outdoor graduation ceremony, which was held outdoors on the Ellipse.

However, the rain did little to stop the Trinity College commencement ceremony.

The school has just completed building an athletic facility that could hold most of the 300 graduates, faculty, family and friends.

“We have a chapel, but that’s too small,” said school spokeswoman Anne Pauley. “But we were holding our breath.”

The story was compiled in part from wire service reports.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

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