Rain will not deter Relay for Life

Published 11:28 pm Tuesday, April 28, 2009

NATCHEZ — Come rain or shine, the Miss-Lou Relay for Life will forge on.

Currently, the weather forecast for the weekend is mild, with a slight chance of rain.

Mike Edmonston, National Weather Service in Jackson senior forecaster, said starting Thursday the Miss-Lou has a forecast of partly cloudy skies with a 20 percent chance of an afternoon shower.

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However, come Friday — Relay’s kick-off day — it will be mostly sunny with no chance of rain.

“There will be nice clear skies to last through the evening,” Edmonston said. “After midnight, cloud (coverage) will increase toward morning, but it’ll be pretty mild.”

He said the weather will be good for the outdoor event, though it will be warm, with the highs in the low to mid- 80s.

“That’s around normal for this time of year,” he said, however.

Relay for Life Chair Janis Holder said even if it does rain, as long as there’s no lightning or tornados, the event will go on.

For rain, there is no true contingency plan, she said. Because the event is so large, Holder said there is no choice but to walk through the rain.

“There is no space large enough under (a roof) in Natchez or Vidalia to hold us in order to facilitate Relay’s needs,” she said.

Holder said Relay has experienced rain before, and it wasn’t much of a deterrent.

“Two years ago, it came a flood the night before and the morning of (Relay),” she said.

Standing water forced event organizers to relocate the tents, but she said it didn’t phase anything or anyone.

“It turned out to be the best Relay year we had,” Holder said.

A few years ago, the event did have to shut down around midnight, because the National Weather Service said a strong storm was moving in — but Holder said circumstances like that have been a rarity.

“It has sprinkled on us in the past — knock on wood — we’ve never had any really, really bad weather,” she said.

She said she feels like even if the weather is less-than-desirable, participants will still come out in droves.

“The community as a whole has never ceased to amaze me as far as their loyalty and dedication to our cause,” she said.

“Sometimes when we think the worst, the community always steps up to the plate.”

And besides, she said, compared to cancer, what’s a little rain?

“These people who are going through cancer and the treatments — it’s nothing compared to a little rain,” Holder said. “We’ll don a raincoat or whatever it takes to pull us through the night.”