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TroyFest prepares for stormy weather

With TroyFest 2015 set to kick off today, there are also slight chances for storms in the area.

Janet Marshall, project manager for the City of Troy, said in the event of severe weather, the city had an emergency evacuation plan and back up plans in case events are postponed or canceled altogether.

TroyFest is a rain or shine event, and the only weather conditions that could potentially hinder scheduled events going as planned would be lightning and high winds.

“While a severe storm cannot be ruled out for Pike County Saturday, at this time the threat area seems to be a bit north of us,” said Jeanna Barnes, Pike County Emergency Management Agency director. “We may see scattered storms Saturday afternoon, a few of which may reach severe limits.”

Saturday’s forecast shows a high of 84 degrees with an 80 percent chance of rain. Severe thunderstorms are possible across all of central Alabama from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. today with the greatest threat east of Hamilton to Birmingham to Lafayette. The threat includes damaging winds, large hail and possible tornadoes.

Should severe weather with lightning, high winds or a combination of the two occur, the city’s evacuation plans state that event officials and the Pike County EMA would actively monitor weather forecasts, satellite radar readings and the NOAA weather radio, and if officials record a period of 20-30 minutes with lightning in range of the event site, activities will be suspended until the lightning has passed.

Marshall said all artists would be notified of the evacuation plan within their vendor packets and the plan will also be posted in Festival Headquarters for those wishing to see it.

Should the Festival Site need evacuating, the city has reported that Troy Police Department would be directing and facilitating traffic flow from the area. The decision to evacuate the event site will be announced over a loudspeaker or through event personnel and volunteers. Volunteers and personnel will be canvassing the event site to advise the evacuation order and direct people to evacuation sites. The sites for the weekend’s event include the Pike County Courthouse located at 120 W Church St., the Pike County Chamber of Commerce located at 101 E Church St., The Studio located at 301 E Walnut St. and the Johnson Center for the Arts located at 300 E Walnut St.

Should events be postponed, the decision to resume events will be made by event officials after receiving more information from local EMA, fire and police departments.

While the weather outlook for today is not the best, Sunday’s forecast is supposed to be mostly sunny with only a 20 percent chance of rain and a high of 89 degrees.

The festival is free for anyone who would like to attend and events start as early as 9 a.m. today running until 5 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. running until 4 p.m. Parking is available off site at the courthouse, First United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church of Troy, Johnson Center for the Arts and Troy City Hall. Handicap parking will be available on Three Notch Street in the parallel parking spots running adjacent to The Square.