Each year at Racecast Weather, we collect photos through the year of our two favorite things - weather and race cars - and pick the best to be featured in a final post to close out the year. Due to the restrictions on race attendance, we have fewer photos in the gallery than usual, but the quality is as high as always. Thanks to the extremely talented photographers who took these photos - credit for each pops up when you hover over each image. Click on each image to view a larger size.
By: Stephen McCoy
Consistent late-spring conditions will be present for this weekend's race for the Kyalami 9 Hour. Low temperatures each day are expected in the upper teen's C, low 60's F, with afternoon high temperatures reaching the upper 20's C, low to mid 80's F. Pop up showers and thunderstorms are possible each day, especially in the afternoons, which may lead to cooler afternoon temperatures than predicted, depending on where the rain falls. Mostly clear to partly cloudy skies will be present during the mornings, but will give way to mostly cloudy conditions as storms begin firing off. Surface winds will stay mostly the same through the weekend, coming from the North during the mornings, then shifting to the Northwest during the afternoons.
By Scott Martin.
Today and Thursday out at Sebring will be days that you will need to be weather aware at the track as Hurricane Eta finally will start to approach the west coast of Florida tonight, make landfall by early Thursday, and the center moving off of the east coast and over the Atlantic by Thursday evening. Those outer rainbands will keep the area wet at times through Thursday night with the potential for wind gusts reaching 40-50 MPH, especially later this afternoon through sunrise on Thursday morning.
There will also be a risk of a few quick spin-up, tropical-type, tornadoes as Eta begins to move closer and eventually on-land. The Storm Prediction Center has Sebring in a level 2 Slight Risk for severe storms due to the threat of those tornadoes along with potentially damaging winds. This risk goes from now until 7:00 am EST. A Flash Flood Watch is also in effect from now until 1:00 am EST Friday.
The good news is nearly all of the activity will be out of the area for Friday and Saturday with only a small chance of a few scattered showers (30%) for Friday. Skies will be mainly sunny for Saturday and mostly clear going into the late-night hours on Saturday night.
I'll have radar up and running this morning for Sebring. Stay weather aware today and during the early morning hours on Thursday. Once Thursday night gets here, we can relax and get into race mode.
By Scott Martin
This is probably one of the most difficult forecasts that I have had to make since we've started Racecast Weather as we have Tropical Storm Eta that has no idea at all at exactly where it wants to go. This forecast can and will change if there are any drastic changes to the forecast track of Eta. At this point, I'll give you three scenarios as the forecast confidence is very low...
THURSDAY: The GFS Model shows the center of Eta close enough to the west coast of Florida to keep cloudy, breezy, and rainy conditions over Sebring throughout the entire day. The European Model is much of the same story but is showing rain intensity may be less at times. NWS Tampa Bay (the official forecast office for the Sebring area) has a 50% chance of showers occurring mainly after 1:00 pm with winds gusting to 20 MPH at times. As of now, we'll say showers will be possible throughout the day with breezy conditions as winds will be out of the south to southeast at 10-15 MPH with gusts around 20 MPH. The morning low at sunrise will be around 74 degrees with the afternoon high reaching around 84 degrees. We'll go with 50% chance of rain for now.
FRIDAY: The GFS shows the center of Eta drifting farther out west over the Gulf of Mexico which will bring a much drier day to the area with a good bit of sunshine. The European has a little more rapid movement to the west with Eta and almost agrees with the GFS. The NWS has in their forecast mostly sunny skies with a very small chance of a passing shower. All three of these are in close agreement so we'll go with mostly sunny skies with only a 20% chance of a passing shower during the day. The morning low will be around 73 degrees and it will warm to around 86 degrees for the afternoon high. Winds will be calmer out of the south at 5-10 MPH.
SATURDAY: Eta will get caught up and absorbed into an approaching cold front that will be moving through Mississippi and Alabama during the late hours on Saturday, according to the GFS. This will keep Sebring dry throughout the day with this scenario. The European is relatively the same with the GFS and it keeps Sebring dry throughout the day. The NWS has it being sunny and very warm. We'll go with mainly sunny skies and warm with the afternoon high topping out around 86 degrees after starting off around 70 degrees at daybreak.
NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER: Unfortunately, as I was typing out this forecast, the National Hurricane Center has their official forecast track of Eta hugging the west coast of Florida as is will be moving slowly north-northeastward through the week and into the weekend. If this scenario plays out, rain chances will have to be increased for each day.
If you notice how wide the cone of uncertainty is for Saturday, that will tell you how low the confidence the forecast is. It shows that the center could potentially make a landfall from as far away as Pensacola, Florida, to as far east as Bradenton and just north of Sarasota, Florida.
This will be an ever-changing forecast so I'll have updates throughout the week. Stay tuned.
By Doug Schneider
Beautiful California weather can be expected this weekend as IMSA heads to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
A large high pressure ridge will be over the west coast for the second half of this week. Through the weekend, this ridge will shift to the east, and a low pressure trough in the upper levels will approach from the west. The main affect of this will be temperatures that will trend warmer each day of the event, and a slight increase in high clouds on Sunday.
Morning fog is often an issue at Laguna Seca, and while it can't be ruled out, it is too far out in the forecast to mention it as a problem at this time. Forecasting fog is difficult even a few hours in advance, so I'm not going to try to do it 4 to 6 days in advance. We'll see how that develops in later forecast updates.
Doug Schneider, Scott Martin, and Stephen McCoy are race fans and meteorologists dedicated to providing accurate forecasts and timely weather updates at racing venues around the world. We forecast for IndyCar, Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, USF2000, IMSA, Blancpain World Challenge America, and World Endurance Championship, as well as major SCCA and NASA events.