New Year’s Eve forecast calls for cold, windy conditions; fireworks shows could be called off

Monday, December 31, 2007 | 12:02 p.m. CST; updated 4:27 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

COLUMBIA — Plan to bundle up if you’re going to the First Night celebration.

Temperatures are forecast to fall this afternoon, and Scott Truett of the National Weather Service said revelers can expect temperatures in the low 20s by midnight with northwest winds gusting as high as 25 mph.

Wind gusts of up to 35 mph grounded First Night fireworks last year, prompting organizers to switch to a new type of fireworks this year. Batallion Chief Steve Sapp of the Columbia Fire Department said the new pyrotechnics are cooler burning and safe enough to use indoors. Even so, Sapp said late Monday morning, a determination will be made at 8 p.m. New Year’s Eve about whether to go ahead with fireworks displays scheduled for 9:30 p.m. and midnight at Courthouse Square.

“There’s no set wind speed that is dangerous,” Sapp said. “We’re going to have to make an evaluation based on the wind conditions.”

Truett predicts temperatures will start falling about midday Monday and winds from the northwest about 15 mph may bring snow flurries rather than the rain that had been forecast. By midnight, the temperature will be in the low 20s, probably not dropping to the teens until around 8 a.m. Tuesday.

New Year’s Day and Wednesday will bring some of the coldest weather of the season, with highs predicted in the low to mid 20s. Temperatures are forecast to begin climbing later in the week, with readings in the low 50s possible by Saturday.

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