Fair ready despite heat

MINERAL WELLS – The 2013 West Virginia Interstate Fair and Exposition kicks off today with warm temperatures.

Temperatures for the week of the fair will be well into the 90s, weather officials said Monday.

Meteorologist Joe Merchant with the National Weather Service in Charleston said temperatures will reach the low 90s almost every day this week, with the highest prediction at 92 degrees for today and Thursday.

Organizers of the fair said they aren’t overly concerned with the heat affecting fairgoers. Visitors will have access to air conditioned buildings and plenty of cold beverages throughout the day, officials said.

“We try to do the best we can,” said Russ Collins, vice president of the West Virginia Interstate Fair Board. “We have an AC building, fans where the animals are and cold drinks if anybody gets overheated.”

Collins said safety is obviously a large concern but this isn’t the fair’s first rodeo when it comes to hot weather. The coolest day several years ago was around 95 degrees, he said.

“It’s the third week in July so we’re kinda used to it,” he added. “We love those occasional 82- or 84-degree days.”

Merchant said a break in the heat won’t come until Friday, when temperatures could still reach 90 degrees. A possibility of showers will come into the area Thursday afternoon, he said.

Fair organizers have experienced their fair share of soggy weather, too. Just before the fair kicked off last year the derecho of 2012 hit the Mid-Ohio Valley.

This year, fair organizers were struck with mud and soft ground after the area saw many days of non-stop rain.

“We know the heat’s coming, and a little rain, too,” Collins said. “We look at the forecast but take it with a grain of salt.”

Organizers were encouraged with several sunny days to try to get things ready, he said.

“The kids are setting up animal things in the barns,” Collins said. “We’re kicking it into overdrive.”

Merchant said the overnight lows will be in the 70s so even after the sun goes down temperatures will remain fairly high. The Parkersburg area should remain dry through Wednesday night, he said.

Thursday afternoon there will be a slight chance of thunderstorms from a cold front that will be moving across the Great Lakes.

“Through the week (high temperatures will be from) high pressure building across the Ohio Valley,” Merchant said. “We don’t look for (high temperatures) to get pushed out until the weekend or next week.”

Although the temperatures for this week are above average, the weather pattern is common and a predictable one for the third week of July, Merchant said.