A welcome green flag. Clear blue skies. And hundreds of brightly colored balloons lifting off for a morning of hot air adventure.
It was a picture-perfect morning for flying at Balloon Fiesta Park on Tuesday as pilots taking part in dawn patrol and the scheduled mass ascension launched into calm conditions.
The America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race started Monday night after being delayed for two days. A satellite tracker on balloonfiesta.com showed that by 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, the distance-race balloons were in Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. A team from France piloted by Vincent Leys and Eric Decellieres was in first place and had traveled 742 miles.
Wednesday morning looks to be ideal for balloon events, with a forecast low of 49 degrees and little wind.
Balloon enthusiasts are in for chilly mornings this weekend in Albuquerque.
The city could have its first freeze of the season Thursday night.
Albuquerque National Weather Service meteorologist Alyssa Clements said a strong cold front will race east across New Mexico on Thursday afternoon, bringing 20- to 30-mph winds and frigid air. Albuquerque is expected to have a low of 35 degrees that night, although freezing temperatures are possible.
Attendees at the evening balloon glow and fireworks show are advised to wear warm clothing.
“But once that cold front passes through the area, Friday and Saturday should be calm,” Clements said.
The weather service is not forecasting rain for the weekend.
On Friday, Albuquerque temperatures will be nearly 10 degrees below normal, with a low of 33 degrees and a high of 58. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, temperatures will still be in the low-to-mid-30s. But the afternoons will warm up to the low-70s.
“It should be a beautiful weekend, with gradually warming temperatures,” Clements said. “The weekend will be dry and calm.”
That should mean more green flags flying for the final days of Balloon Fiesta.
Balloon Fiesta 2019 by Albuquerque Journal on Exposure