Rain may mark RAGBRAI's start in Council Bluffs this weekend - LivewellNebraska.com
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Rain may mark RAGBRAI's start in Council Bluffs this weekend

Those prayers for rain might get answered this weekend — too bad thousands of people will be camping outdoors in Council Bluffs.

According to the National Weather Service, there's a chance for rain Friday morning, Saturday night and Sunday. Rick Chermok, meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said overnight Saturday into Sunday is the most likely time for rain.

Ten thousand people are likely to be camped around the Mid-America Center on Saturday night in preparation for Sunday's first day of RAGBRAI — the Des Moines Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa.

Sunday morning, those cyclists will begin their 55-mile journey from Council Bluffs to Harlan, part of a seven-day, 407-mile ride across the state.

Any stormy weather isn't expected to be severe, but it can't be ruled out, Chermok said.

Council Bluffs Fire Chief Alan Byers said emergency workers are taking the weather — notably the possibility for strong winds — into consideration in their preparations.

The emergency command center will be staffed all day Saturday and into Sunday. Officials will link directly with the National Weather Service.

Byers said the following steps would be taken if necessary:

• Storm spotters would be deployed to watch for threatening weather.

• If winds are strong enough to threaten a tent city but not the rest of Council Bluffs, the warning sirens near the Mid-America Center would be independently activated.

• If campers need shelter, they'll be sent to the Mid-America Center.

Otherwise, the weather is expected to be tolerable for bike riders.

Instead of last year's blistering heat, the start of this RAGBRAI will be marked by seasonal temperatures in the 80s to low 90s, according to the weather service.

Chermok said there's another chance for storms early next week.

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