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Rain to Hold Off for Pope Francis' Visit to Philadelphia

By By Katy Galimberti, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
September 29, 2015, 5:31:38 AM EDT

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Hundreds of thousands of people are anticipating the chance to see Pope Francis during his tour in the United States through this weekend.

As part of his tour, the pope made his final stop this weekend in Philadelphia following his stops in Washington, D.C. and New York.

Pope Francis touched down on U.S. soil on Tuesday, Sept. 22, in Washington, D.C., which marked the start of his tour.


In all three cities, tickets for public masses, papal parades and even public transportation were highly coveted.

Dry weather was favored for Washington D.C. and New York City during the week. Now the same is expected for Philadelphia, which earlier looked like rain could spoil some outdoor celebrations on Sunday.

Philadelphia, Sept. 26-27

The pope left New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday morning, flying to his last U.S. city, Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love will host the most public appearances and events on Pope Francis' U.S. tour.

After flying into Philadelphia International Airport around 9:45 a.m. EDT, the pope conducted mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul.


After visiting Independence Hall at 4:45 p.m. EDT Saturday, the pope traveled to the Festival of Families at Benjamin Franklin Parkway and held a Prayer Vigil with World Meeting of Families (WMOF).

The WMOF is the world's largest meeting of Catholic families, held once every three years. Hundreds of thousands are expected to be in attendance as Philadelphia celebrates Francis Festival. Philadelphia is offering areas for both ticket holders and non-ticket holders.

While dry conditions on Sunday will not inhibit travel, the city has limited public transportation use to special pass holders only.

The strong ridge of high pressure over the Northeast looks to win out on Sunday, allowing most of the rain to stay south and west of the city.


As the storm comes closer on Sunday, there could be a dampness in the air. However, the city is likely expected to remain dry.

"High pressure anchored off the New England coast will continue to deflect rain away from Philadelphia on Sunday," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Carl Erickson. "Rain will make it about as far north as the nation's capital Sunday, but will have a difficult time making it farther north."

The storm will come close enough to reinforce cool air, making for near-normal conditions for people packed together on city streets.

"Even if rain misses the city, cloudy skies and a cool breeze will still make it feel like a dreary, autumnlike day," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun said on Wednesday.

Following meetings with bishops at St. Martin’s Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary on Sunday morning, the pope will visit the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility north of Center City.

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Pope Francis will say mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 4 p.m. EDT on Sunday after a papal parade. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said a million people are expected to attend the mass.

The pope will also ride up and down the Ben Franklin Parkway and around City Hall as part of the papal parade.

After the mass, the pope's final appearance will be with organizers, volunteers and benefactors of the WMOF at Atlantic Aviation.

For his scheduled 8 p.m. EDT departure to Rome on Sunday, low clouds will hang over the city, but they should not disrupt the flight out of Philadelphia. For his arrival in Rome, dry and comfortable conditions will be in place.

AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, AccuWeather's commercial weather-for-business services company, was selected to work onsite in Philadelphia with city public safety and first responder agencies, providing up-to-the-minute weather intelligence to mitigate risk and limit the potential exposure of severe weather's impact during events.

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