Updated 3:05 a.m. Thursday
President Barack Obama will speak in a call-in event at 1:20 p.m. Thursday with people who held community credentials to have seen him accept his party’s nomination for president at Bank of America Stadium. The potential for bad weather prompted Democratic National Convention organizers to move the event to the much smaller Time Warner Arena.
The call will be about 1:30 p.m.
A message on the Obama-Biden webpage read: “Thank you so much for being a part of the excitement in Charlotte—we truly regret that we can’t all be together to watch the President speak tomorrow. That’s why President Obama will be talking with you and others who have credentials for the convention tomorrow, September 6th, at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time. You can tune in to the call on this page. Just check back at 1:30 tomorrow for the President to join—we’ll also send you an email reminder when the call is about to start tomorrow.”
No change in weather forecast
The National Weather Service is sticking to its guns with the Thursday forecast in Charlotte.
Meteorologist Harry Gerapetritis said early Thursday morning that thunderstorm chances will be "in the range of 30 to 40 percent" as a weak low pressure system crosses the region during the day.
The Weather Service had been predicting a 40 percent chance for Thursday on Wednesday, when the Democratic National Convention organizers decided to move President Obama's acceptance speech indoors.
"There's not much change in our thinking," Gerapetritis said. "In the Charlotte area, the coverage will reach its maximum between 3 and 6 p.m."
The storms will have the potential of being a lot stronger than those earlier this week. That means damaging wind gusts are likely in a few of the storms, but the threat of flash flooding will be lower.
The storms will be gone from the Charlotte area by early evening, Gerapetritis said.
I-277 to open
The decision to move Thursday's event was a good news/bad news situation for residents and visitors in Charlotte.
It was good news for anyone who usually drives on the John Belk Freeway or travels near Bank of America Stadium.
Road closures, parking and pedestrian restrictions scheduled to take place near the Bank of America Stadium on Thursday have been lifted, including restrictions on Interstate 277, which will now remain open, according to federal law enforcement officials.
But for those who were anticipating the lifting of restrictions near Time Warner Cable Arena on Thursday (all the activity had been scheduled to move to the stadium), it's bad news.
The bottom line: All road closures and other restrictions surrounding Time Warner Cable Arena will be extended until 9 a.m. Friday.
Meanwhile, US Airways said late Wednesday afternoon that because of the impact the weather has had on the DNC schedule, customers scheduled to leave Friday can move their departure date to Thursday at no additional cost when traveling to their original destination.
To adjust travel dates, customers should visit www.usairways.com or contact US Airways Reservations at 800-406-6496. All customers are advised to visit the company’s website to check the status of their flight before heading to the airport.
The airline also urged customers departing Thursday to arrive at least two hours prior to domestic travel and three hours prior to international flights at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Customers departing Friday should arrive at least three hours prior to domestic travel and four hours prior to international flights.
CATS had planned to reopen its transportation center on Trade Street, which is across the street from the arena, on Thursday after setting up a temporary one at Third and Mint streets. But the venue change means that CATS will continue operating from the temporary transit center located at 3rd and Mint Street through the end of the day Thursday.
CATS will continue to have tents, restrooms, pass sales, lost and found, and ambassadors on site Thursday to assist people. During rain storms, CATS staff will announce bus arrivals and give people plenty of time to board your bus. Residents and visitors should visit the City’s website DNCinfo.charlottenc.gov to help them plan vehicle routes and to view the public transit schedule.
People should also keep in mid that federal officials also said this in a statement: “Temporary security restrictions not previously identified may be necessary and may not be announced in advance.”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will proceed with its previously announced plans to dismiss three center-city schools — First Ward Creative Arts Academy, Metro School and Irwin Academic Center — early on Thursday to avoid traffic jams. Only First Ward was operating under an early-dismissal time on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Compiled by April Bethea, Adam Bell and Kerry Singe with additional reporting by Karen Garloch, Ann Doss Helms, Joe DePriest, Lukas Johnson, Joe Marusak and Karen Sullivan.