When the fireworks flashed Wednesday the temperature was 72 degrees and no rain was falling, though the area had been under a flash flood watch for most of the day. City officials watched the radar throughout the day and Mayor Johnny Smith watched his watch, all hoping the rain would stay away until the fireworks show ended.
“All day long we tried to decide whether we were going to do it or whether we weren’t going to do it,” Smith said. “It turned out to be a great day for it.”
Nevertheless, other Independence Day celebrations, including one planned by the City of Oxford, might still be affected by downpours.
According to the National Weather Service there's a 100 percent chance of rain Thursday and the area will remain under the flash flood watch until Saturday. The chance for rain also remains high throughout the weekend.
Officials in Oxford aren't yet ready to cancel their traditional events.
“We’re optimistic about it,” said Don Hudson, director of Oxford’s Parks and Recreation Department. “We’ll just have to see what the weather does.”
Oxford plans to host an all-day celebration beginning at 8 a.m. and lasting through the 9 p.m. fireworks display at Oxford Lake. If the event is called off because of rain the city plans to host it Friday. If rain halts festivities Friday the celebration will be held Saturday, Hudson said.
Kevin Laws, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Calera, said between 2 and 5 inches of rain could fall in the area over the next several days.
“The rain will come in waves, but it will definitely be more on than off,” Laws said. “You hate it for July Fourth, but that's the way it goes sometimes.”
Jacksonville’s celebration began, as planned, at 6 p.m. with games for children. A community band and choir performed patriotic music and a fireworks display capped off the event.
People arrived at the Jacksonville High School stadium in ponchos and with umbrellas, but by the time the sun set they began packing them up while rain showers drifted away.
Pete and Polly Wilkerson were among those who attended the event with umbrellas in hand. They said they were concerned the weather might be wet but they weren’t worried enough to let it keep them inside their Anniston home.
“It was so good last year. We just had to come,” Polly Wilkerson said.
Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.