ST. LOUIS (AP) - When drought made Fourth of July fireworks a fire hazard, organizers in Chesterfield, Mo., decided to try again Labor Day weekend. Go figure: Now rain from the remnants of Hurricane Isaac has forced them to cancel again.
The storm is expected to drop several inches of rain over parts of Midwest this weekend, and residents are preparing for a soggy holiday with mixed emotions.
People in drought-stricken areas have been begging, pleading and praying for rain. But did it have to ruin the end-of-summer party?
"Whoever thought we'd have a hurricane challenge this event again?" city of Chesterfield spokeswoman Libbey Tucker said of the ill-fated fireworks display. "Somebody joked that next time it will be snow that we'll have to cancel for."
What's left of Isaac has been plodding north into states that badly need moisture. The worst drought in decades stretches from Ohio west to California. Isaac will move straight through some of the hardest hit states: Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Lesser rain is expected to the west in portions of Oklahoma and Kansas.
State emergency agencies, city and county leaders and utility crews have been preparing for the deluge. In Indianapolis, a line of about 100 cars snaked from a Department of Public Works lot where free sandbags were being distributed Friday. Residents could pick up bags filled with 30 to 50 pounds of sand, and DPW supervisor Stephen Brown estimated more than 180 people had done so by noon.
Jenny Bland, 50, of Indianapolis, waited in line more than 90 minutes so she could pick up bags for her family and elderly neighbors.
"People are taking this very seriously," Bland said.