Parade will go on, despite the forecast

rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.com
and YESENIA AMARO
yamaro@mercedsunstar.com
December 1, 2012 

— Mercedians should get a break from the rain during the 18th annual Merced Hometown Christmas Parade today, forecasters predicted Friday.

Today will be mostly cloudy but dry, said Carlos Molina, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford.

A high of 63 degrees is expected for the day with a low of 52 degrees, he said. But the rain will pick up again about 5 or 6 p.m., and will continue through Sunday.

Regardless of the weather, parade organizers said they will not consider canceling or delaying the annual celebration.

"Rain or shine, it's going on today," said Joaquina Lee, co-chairwoman of the parade, which is organized by the Active 20-30 Club of Merced. "So bring out those umbrellas and galoshes because we're going on."

Lee said the organizers have made special arrangements that cannot be changed, including paying for security, port-a-potties and extra trash cans.

Not to mention the countless hours the 75 to 100 volunteers have donated to putting the event together.

With the addition of pop-up tents to keep attendees and some performers dry, Lee said the parade will go on as planned for the 80 entries, which include floats, car clubs and bands.

The weather will not affect the tree-lighting either, which is scheduled to happen 15 minutes after the parade ends, Lee said. The parade begins at 3 p.m., with performers entertaining the crowd starting at 1:30.

A high of 60 degrees is forecast for Sunday with winds of 15 to 20 miles per hour, Molina said. A low of 46 degrees is expected for the day.

The Merced area is expected to get one-half to three-quarters of an inch of rain Sunday, he said. The area got about one-third of an inch of rain Friday.

With the rain the area got on Friday and the additional rain it will get on Sunday, Molina said, flooding might be a problem. He said drivers should be careful on the roads.

Those who want to escape the rain Sunday but still celebrate the holiday spirit might try paying a visit to the Merced County Courthouse Museum's annual Open House, from 1 to 4 p.m.

More than 60 artificial Christmas trees, decorated by schools, businesses, churches and nonprofits, will be on display at the free event.

"It's a long tradition of the museum, and we'll keep it going despite the weather," said Sarah Lim, director of the Merced County Courthouse Museum. "I can only anticipate we'll have a larger crowd because it's an indoor event. This is one of the events to kick off the holiday celebration and we welcome everyone."

The courthouse museum is at 21st and N streets in Merced.

In Mariposa, the Merry Mountain Christmas Parade is scheduled for 6 p.m. today. After the parade makes its way through the downtown, spectators are encouraged to stay for the bonfire and caroling. Santa will make an appearance as well.

Some sunshine will return to the region Monday and Tuesday, Molina said, with temperatures in the mid-60s.

But the sun won't stick around for too long.

Molina said there's a chance of rain Wednesday.

Reporter Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.com.

Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or yamaro@mercedsunstar.com.

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