Weather, Traffic Woes Could Cause Problems For Trump Visit
WILKES-BARRE TWP. — It could be a long, wet wait to see the president today.
President Donald Trump will visit Mohegan Sun Arena tonight for a rally in support of U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-11, Hazleton. Barletta is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by incumbent Democrat Bob Casey.
A capacity crowd of 10,000 is expected for the 7 p.m. rally.
Many are expected to line up outside the arena, off Highland Park Boulevard, long before the doors open at 4 p.m. They should be prepared for possible strong storms, especially later in the day, according to forecasters.
Accuweather predicts a chance of “heavy thunderstorms” that could cause flash flooding today and tonight.
Kurt Aaron, chief meteorologist for WNEP-TV, predicts very humid weather, with a chance of showers, storms and downpours. Storms could be strong this afternoon, according to Stefano DiPietro, meteorologist for Eyewitness News.
There will be no protection from the weather for people in line outside the arena. Those who bring umbrellas to ward off the rain should be prepared to discard them before the rally. Umbrellas will not be permitted inside the arena, as of Wednesday night. If that policy changes today, it will be mentioned on the event page of the arena’s website, according to Steve Poremba, the arena’s director of sales and marketing.
Also, motorists are advised to expect travel delays and congestion near the arena, including Interstate 81 and the busy commercial corridor around Wyoming Valley Mall and other shopping centers.
Wilkes-Barre Twp. police issued a traffic advisory, warning of heavy traffic in the area from 2-11 p.m.
Once Trump gets to the arena, traffic will grind to a halt.
Highland Park Boulevard will be closed from Schechter Drive to Mundy Street from about 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The ramps at Exit 168 of I-81 will also be closed.
Among other security measures, a drone no-fly zone will be in effect from 5 to 10 p.m. for a 15-mile area around the arena and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, where Air Force One is expected to land at about 5:30 p.m.
Around the same time, members of local activist groups plan to gather on the sidewalk across the street from the arena. They plan to protest against Trump and his policies prior to the rally.
Enhanced security measures, including walk-through metal detectors, will be in place at the arena entrance.
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