Virginia Beach, Va. – Large crowds are expected at the Oceanfront this Friday to watch the annual Fourth of July Fireworks show, but Tropical Storm Arthur has changed a few things.
Most holiday events have been rescheduled for Saturday night at Mt. Trashmore and at the Oceanfront.
Even if there isn’t any rain by Friday night, the wind and waves could still be a concern at the beach, since the fireworks for that show are launched from a barge on 20th Street.
And they’re not the only ones keeping on an eye on Arthur. This is an important weekend for beach businesses.
“Fourth of July weekend is a huge weekend for the city of Virginia Beach.” said George Smith, owner of Juice Box Surf. “It brings in locals down to the beach as well as the folks coming in from out of town, so it’s a big deal.”
As a surf shop owner, Smith says he’s happy to see the waves brought in by storms, but knows it can be hard on other businesses who depend on the extra foot traffic a holiday weekend brings.
“The beach does get concerned because people will cancel reservations if they know the weather is not going to be good,” said Smith.
With the uncertainty, the police department says they’re ready either way.
They’ll be closely watching traffic at the Oceanfront, monitoring traffic flow and parking lots to determine if it’s getting too busy.
If that happens, they’ll redirect cars from I-264 Eastbound to Westbound unless people live or are staying at the beach.
“Obviously, the reason we do that is for public concern. If we cannot get emergency equipment down there to respond to incidents, then it’s not good,” said MPO Tonya Borman.
If they end up being forced to deal with a storm instead of traffic, Borman says the extra officers they have staffed for the holiday weekend can be sent where they’re needed to deal with any issues that come up because of the weather.