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Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival fans keep eye on sky for rain

| Saturday, June 4, 2016, 10:03 p.m.
Eliazer Chapman, 20, of New York City jumps over participants while performing with the entertainment group the Breakatronz during the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival on Saturday, June 4, 2016.
Nate Smallwood | Trib Total Media
Eliazer Chapman, 20, of New York City jumps over participants while performing with the entertainment group the Breakatronz during the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival on Saturday, June 4, 2016.
Maggie Behring, 17, and Bridget Behring, 19, both of Gibsonia, look over wooden-carved painted flowers at a booth at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival on Saturday, June 4, 2016.
Nate Smallwood | Trib Total Media
Maggie Behring, 17, and Bridget Behring, 19, both of Gibsonia, look over wooden-carved painted flowers at a booth at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival on Saturday, June 4, 2016.
Paul Kovac, lead singer of the band Hillbilly Idol, preforms at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival on Saturday, June 4, 2016.
Nate Smallwood | Trib Total Media
Paul Kovac, lead singer of the band Hillbilly Idol, preforms at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival on Saturday, June 4, 2016.
Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival-goers walk under the bridge toward The Point on Saturday, June 4, 2016.
Nate Smallwood | Trib Total Media
Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival-goers walk under the bridge toward The Point on Saturday, June 4, 2016.

Even amid a sunny procession of funnel cakes, lobster rolls and cups of fresh-squeezed lemonade Saturday morning, some people attending the 57th annual Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival at Point State Park were thinking of rain.

Kurt Pfaff, 60, of the South Side and girlfriend Megan Bethel, 60, of Murrysville said that for four decades they have regularly attended the 10-day festival, running this year from June 3 to 12.

“When the festival comes, you know you're going to get rain,” he said, voicing a widely held belief.

Despite expected thunderstorms around the time of Saturday's headliner, the David Grisman Sextet, rain is no more likely to fall during the festival than in the rest of June, said Rihaan Gangat, a National Weather Service meteorologist based in Moon.

Daily averages from 1981 to 2010 show that 0.14 to 0.15 of an inch fall each day throughout June, with the early days of the month being just as likely to get heavy rain as the latter ones, Gangat said.

The most rain that ever fell in Pittsburgh was on June 16, 1912, when the city got 3.19 inches, he said. Other June days on which more than 2 inches fell were the 9th, in 1881; the 2nd, in 2010; and the 24th, in 1996, he said.

However, June is the rainiest month in Pittsburgh, with an average of 4.3 inches from 1981 to 2010, he said, followed by May with 3.96 inches and July with 3.83. June is also the most prone to severe weather such as hail, wind and tornadoes in the region including Western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, West Virginia and a little bit of Maryland.

June is rainy and volatile because warm tropical systems often collide with cold fronts moving through from the north around this time of year, Gangat said.

The chances of rain will remain around 30 percent early this week as cool air moves in from the Great Lakes, but it should dry out around Wednesday, he said. Thursday should be dry, before the chance of rain increases to about 30 percent Friday. This week also will be cooler, he said.

“It'll be comfortable, less humid — some relief for whoever felt hot during that 80-degree stretch that we had,” Gangat said.

The festival draws thousands annually and features about 300 vendors showcasing a variety of artwork, as well as dozens of musical acts.

Wes Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676 or wventeicher@tribweb.com.

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