ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Winds just on the edge of acceptable were playing games with the Night Magic Glow at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
At a briefing late Saturday afternoon, pilots were told they could inflate their crafts at their discretion for the thousands of fans drawn to Balloon Fiesta Park.
Wind speeds were forecast to diminish after sunset.
The Afterglow fireworks show scheduled for 8 p.m. is expected to go on as planned.
Earlier Saturday coverage:
The wind forecast looked problematic, but Saturday dawned with crisp air and slight breezes lifting the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta into its closing weekend.
The day stood in marked contrast to Friday when a turbulent storm system washed out morning launches, blew out the evening Balloon Glow and generate downpours, large hail and a tornado warning farther north.
"Today a big, big difference," KRQE News 13 Chief Meteorologist Mark Ronchetti said as the Dawn Patrol floated overhead and the first balloons prepared to launch the mass ascension at 7 a.m. "What were seeing here is not a lot of wind.
"As these balloons go up, they're not flying on out of here, which is actually a very good sign."
Westerly breezes pushed most of the balloons across Interstate 25 and over northeast Albuquerque.
No mishaps were reported by Albuquerque police.
The Night Magic Glow and Afterglow Fireworks are scheduled for 5:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. respectively with the Farewell Mass Ascension on for 7 a.m. Sunday. The ascension will be carried live on KRQE News 13 and streamed live on KRQE.com from 7-9 a.m.
By midafternoon wind speeds at Balloon Fiesta Park were ticking upward. The go/no-go decision on inflating for the glow was to be made during a pilot briefing scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
When a glow was canceled earlier in the fiesta, the fireworks show went ahead as planned.
For morning photos and archived continuous blogging from the field, please click here.
For a gallery of photos submitted to KRQE.com Report It!, please click here.
Online: KRQE.com: Balloon Fiesta Guide with schedules, photos, news and more.
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