Rain, rain, rain, (events) go away

Weather forecasters and event planners don’t think alike.

That was apparent Friday afternoon as forecasters predicted that a storm drenching the Carolinas could knock out power and send rain, gusty winds and high surf all the way to New England.

In Mont Vernon, the annual Lamson Farm Days was canceled for the first time in its 29-year history due to the weather.

The decision was made partly out of concern that cars would get stuck in the field that is used as a parking lot, and also because police and public works units that help control traffic are likely to be busy with flooding and washouts, according to an announcement from the Lamson Farm Committee.

Similarly in Nashua, the Nashua Country Fair was postponed. It will be held one day later, on Sunday from 10 to 4 p.m., behind Holman Stadium.

Yet, over in Merrimack, the weather report didn’t worry Linda Bonetti, executive director of the Merrimack Chamber of Commerce, who on Friday afternoon was predicting a heavy turnout at the town’s big exposition, a daylong event scheduled for Saturday and moved from an outside venue to a local elementary school.

“It’s on! We’ve moved it into the Mastricola complex, the upper elementary school,” Bonetti said of the event, which will include booths representing 147 local businesses.

Likewise, organizers of the Beaver Brook Fall Festival, slated for this weekend at the Hollis conservation site, and those running the Lamson Farm Day, an annual event in Mont Vernon, weren’t calling for rain checks, despite predictions of heavy rain and possible flooding.

The National Weather Service said the center of the storm hitting the area Friday was well to the south, but was so large it was already bringing wind and rain to the Northeast. Small craft advisories were issued from Savannah, Ga., to Maine.

At the same time, experts were watching Tropical Storm Kyle in the open Atlantic, south of Bermuda. The National Hurricane Center said Kyle could become a hurricane by Saturday as it moved north.

PSNH recalled crews sent to upstate New York and Ohio 12 days ago to help restore power following Hurricane Ike, which traveled from Texas to the Northeast, said PSNH spokesman Martin Murray.

The 13 line trucks, carrying crew and support staff, were expected back in the state by Friday night, Murray said.

“We’re asking employees to be prepared for emergency conditions. Bucket trucks and other vehicles are stocked, full of gas, to respond quickly,” said Elizabeth La Rocca, also a PSNH spokesperson.

“We don’t want to sound the alarm too loudly,” La Rocca added, describing preparations as routine.

In Nashua, the American Red Cross Greater Nashua and Souhegan Valley Chapter was watching the storm and making contingency plans.

“We’ve called down for disaster relief,” said Karen Dudley, acting emergency services director.

Dudley said about 10 Red Cross emergency workers were on standby, and that shelters across Greater Nashua and the Souhegan Valley could be opened on a moment’s notice.

“We anticipate a lot of rain,” Dudley said, adding that rivers could overflow, flooding basements and sending some residents packing.

She said the Red Cross is advising families to keep three days worth of food and water on hand, in the event of a power failure.

But Dudley was also aware that many events hadn’t been cancelled, despite the dire weather predictions.

“The Deerfield Fair is going on,” she said of a popular annual event. “Most people are really watching the weather, and right now, it’s just a lot of rain.”

Hattie Bernstein 673-3100, ext. 24 or hbernstein@cabinet.com.