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Thunder Over Louisville organizers spend all year planning the event down to the smallest detail, but Derby Festival spokeswoman Aimee Boyd says the contents of the air show depend on something that’s entirely out of their control: the clouds.

“For any air show, they have a high show, a low show, or a flat show, depending on the cloud ceiling,” Boyd says.

Saturday’s ceiling is not looking high, but that doesn’t mean the show will be less entertaining.

“With a flat show you actually get a little bit closer to the aircraft,” she says. “They’re gonna be flying through the venue a little bit lower, so it’ll be lower and faster.”

The forecast is getting better for Thunder, and rain is predicted to stop before the show starts in the afternoon. But organizers say there’s a plan in place just in case the weather doesn’t cooperate with the Derby Festival kickoff event. 

Boyd says in case of dangerous weather or torrential rain, the air show or fireworks display would be delayed in increments of 30 minutes to wait for the skies to clear up.

If severe conditions developed, spectators would be instructed to take cover under the freeway overpass or if possible, go back to their cars. So if you go, keep an ear open for warnings.

“We have sound systems to let people know,” she says, “and messaging that we would get out to everybody if they needed to exit the venue.”

Thunder-goers should be prepared for the ground to be wet and for possible rain showers. Tarps are allowed in Waterfront Park in case you want to insulate your picnic blanket from the damp grass.

But despite mud, sprinkles, and chilly weather, the show will go on. Boyd says Thunder Over Louisville has never been canceled since it began in 1990.

Laura is LPM's Director of Podcasts & Special Projects.