Scott Ball / Rivard Report
The weather forecast for the Celebrate 300 New Year's Eve party calls for cold and windy conditions with a chance of patchy drizzle. But Tricentennial officials emphasized Friday that the Hemisfair event will go on regardless of the weather.
"If they can celebrate [New Year's Eve] in Times Square every year with their weather, we can certainly celebrate it here in San Antonio with ours," said Carlos Contreras, interim executive director of the Tricentennial Commission.
Cory Van Pelt, a forecaster with the National Weather Service's Austin/San Antonio office, said downtown temperatures would be about 47 degrees around 5 p.m. Sunday, dropping to around 36 degrees at midnight. Wind chill will make it feel more like temperatures are in the low 20s, with sustained 15- to 20-mile-per-hour winds.
"We're sort of watching to see if there will be any drizzle occurring when the temperatures approach freezing New Year's," Van Pelt said. "We've got chances of about 20 percent of that happening."
— NWS Austin/San Antonio (@NWSSanAntonio) December 29, 2017
Contreras said Celebrate 300 organizers also are monitoring the weather. Despite the wind and small chance of precipitation, no changes have been made to the free event's run of show. Musical performances will go on as scheduled, starting at 4:15 p.m., along with the midnight fireworks show over Hemisfair.
"We are encouraging residents to use good judgement and dress in accordance with the weather conditions," Contreras said in a text message. "The chance of precipitation is low at this time, but we are asking folks to monitor the weather."
San Antonio Police Department Chief William McManus said police were already preparing for icy road conditions. He said that "if it ices up that night, there is no safe driving on ice." The department will be watching the weather, particularly looking for icy conditions on elevated roadways such as bridges, as SAPD officers monitor crowds and traffic at the New Year's Eve celebration at the City's Emergency Operations Center.
Anyone planning on attending the event was being asked to consider taking mass transit, rideshare services, or taxis downtown Sunday night. VIA Metropolitan Transit will be operating three park-and-ride lines for service to Hemisfair. Rideshare service Lyft said it will take steps to ensure there are enough available drivers to help transport people to and from the downtown area, "incentivizing drivers to get on the road when demand is high," according to a statement.
McManus said no changes had been made to the event's security plan, which requires visitors to be screened before entering the grounds. Tricentennial officials said attendees without bags or those who bring clear bags will get expedited clearance.