Lots of sunshine forecast for weekend events

The last weekend of winter will feel a lot like spring, with marathoners, roller coaster riders and St. Patrick’s Parade participants enjoying plenty of warm sunshine.

Channel 2 Action News meteorologist David Chandley said afternoon highs will be in the low 70s Friday and in the mid-70s Saturday and Sunday.

The next chance of rain isn’t until Monday, when there’s a 60 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms later in the day.

That forecast is great news for organizers of several big outdoor events on Saturday.

The Publix Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon starts at 7 a.m. Sunday at Centennial Olympic Park. The racers will run a course that runs from downtown Atlanta to Decatur and back to the finish line at the park.

Also downtown Saturday, the annual St. Patrick’s Parade steps off at noon and marches down Peachtree Street from Ralph McGill Boulevard to Marietta Street.

Saturday is also the 2013 opening day for Six Flags Over Georgia, so extra traffic can be expected on I-20 west of town.

Other downtown events include the Atlanta International Auto Show, which runs through Sunday at the Georgia World Congress Center and a Hawks game against Phoenix at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Philips Arena.

The Harlem Globetrotters take to the Philips court at 1 p.m. Saturday, then take their hi-jinks to the Gwinnett Arena for a 7:30 p.m. show.

The picture-perfect weather will also be good for road construction crews, who plan to block interstate lanes in several spots this weekend.

In Cobb County, the ongoing repaving project will shut down the ramps from I-75 northbound and southbound to I-285 eastbound from 9 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday. Doug Turnbull in the AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB Traffic Center suggested using Powers Ferry or Paces Ferry roads to access I-285.

In that same area, the I-285 collector/distributor ramp from U.S. 41 to I-75 and the U.S. 41 ramp to I-285 southbound will be blocked all weekend, and the two left lanes of I-285 southbound will be blocked from I-75 to Paces Ferry Road.

In DeKalb County, the right lane of I-20 eastbound will be shut down between I-285 and Wesley Chapel Road.