Thunder Over Louisville countdown underway inside the Command Ce - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Thunder Over Louisville countdown underway inside the Command Center

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Thunder's fireworks include 58-tons of shells for a 28 minute show. Thunder's fireworks include 58-tons of shells for a 28 minute show.
The countdown to Thunder is crunch time in the Command Center. The countdown to Thunder is crunch time in the Command Center.
The view is spectacular from Thunder Command the day before the show. The view is spectacular from Thunder Command the day before the show.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - Thunder Over Louisville roars into town on Saturday, April 21, 2018, and the command center is buzzing.

Thunder couldn't happen without the technology and experts in the command center at The Galt House, and the day they've been planning for is almost here.

"Every year it just gets a little more interesting and a little more fun," said Producer Wayne Hettinger.

The command center is the heart of the operation where buttons and boards control the show. It's a place where the same man has been calling the shots for the last 29 years.

"Everybody asks, 'Aren't you a little kind of over the thrill?' Are you kidding? That's like asking Santa Claus if he's tired of Christmas!" said Hettinger.

With nice weather in the forecast, an estimated 700,000 people are expected to come out to the waterfront. The Louisville Metro Police Department is keeping an eye on safety. 

Officer Lamont Washington said, "We worry so you don't have to, so we always say, 'See something, say something.'"

The U.S. Coast Guard will be keeping watch out on the water. No boaters will be allowed on the river between the McAlpine Locks and Dam and Cox Park.

"The river is very high right now, and the river has been all winter and all spring, with that comes very strong currents, and then drift in the river such as logs and things that can really do a lot of damage, especially to smaller boats," said Captain Michael Zamperin.

If you're headed downtown for Thunder, you can't get your spot before the sun comes up, but you should arrive early.

The Kentucky Derby Festival's Aimee Boyd said the Great Lawn opens at 9 a.m. "Usually with great weather the crowds come down earlier, so if you want to get here for a front row seat for the show, you want to get down earlier"

Planes were practicing for the air show on the waterfront on Friday drawing spectators on both sides of the Ohio River. 

The Big Four Bridge closes Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for air show practice. The pedestrian bridge will close again Saturday from 9 a.m. to midnight.

The 2nd Street Bridge is already closed, and it won't reopen until Sunday afternoon at 2.

Portions of I-65, I-64, and I-71 south will all close Saturday night around 8:30.

Pilots will practice Friday. On Saturday night, 58 tons of explosives will ignite from the Second Street Bridge and 6 barges in the Ohio River.

The Thunder soundtrack includes samples from 40 disco-era hits.

The air show starts Saturday at 3 p.m. Fireworks follow at 9:30.

For everything you need to know to attend Thunder, CLICK HERE.

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