By Doug Schneider
The latest forecast update for PWC weekend at COTA still looks good for a dry event. The general pattern hasn't changed much since the first forecast from Monday, as an area of high pressure will be to the east of Texas through the weekend, providing a southerly flow in the Austin area that will keep temperatures pretty warm. Humidity levels will be increasing each day as the southerly flow persists and spreads moisture northward from the Gulf of Mexico. With this forecast, I have increased the cloud cover a little for Friday through Sunday, as I think each day will start with broken to overcast clouds. The morning clouds should lift and scatter, so there should be some sunshine each afternoon. By Sunday, there may be enough moisture and instability to allow some isolated thunderstorms to develop around central Texas, but the chance of one hitting the track remains low, just 20%.
By Doug Schneider
Pirelli World Challenge holds its first Sprint X event at COTA this weekend, and overall, I think the weather will cooperate. There is some uncertainty this far out about the potential for showers and thunderstorms over the weekend, but as it stand today, they should remain isolated with a low chance of impacting the racing.
A high pressure system at the surface will be east of Texas on Thursday, producing a southerly wind between 10 and 20 mph. In the upper levels of the atmosphere, there will be a high pressure ridge that will provide stable conditions that will suppress the development of showers and storms. That pattern will continue into Friday.
On Saturday, the upper level ridge shifts to the east, and a low pressure system develops near the Rockies. A southerly wind will continue to provide warm temperatures each day, but the question is whether there will be enough lift in the atmosphere to allow storms to develop on Saturday and Sunday. With the upper level ridge moving away, and the low pressure system to the north tracking across Kansas, there is a chance of some storms to develop. If they were to occur, they would probably be in the afternoon and evening.
Forecasting how storms will develop this far out is really difficult, so I don't have a lot of confidence in what will happen, but I will mention a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms both days because they are a possibility. Stay tuned through the week for updates.
Thanks to Joseph Bierschbach of Red Case Photography for providing the beautiful photo for our forecast graphic.
By Doug Schneider
There hasn't been much change to the expected weather pattern later this week at Sebring. I only made some changes to the morning low temperatures, which are looking colder than before. It will be unusually cold for Sebring each morning, as the normal low temperature this time of year is around 55 degrees. With a dry air mass and low relative humidity, temperatures will warm quickly through the day, and the high on race day will be around 80. By the end of the race, the temperature will be in the upper 60s.
By Doug Schneider - @Race4caster
Is it just me, or does the break between Daytona and Sebring seem longer than the offseason? Finally, it's time for the IMSA season to get back underway. And I don't think the weather can possibly get any better than what I'm expecting this weekend at Sebring.
Early this week, a cold front will pass through the state of Florida, and a large high pressure system will build in from the north through the rest of the week. This will result in dry conditions (no rain and low humidity), lots of sunshine, and temperatures cooler than normal. Normal temperatures for Sebring in mid-March are a low in the mid 50s and a high around 80. Temperatures for the start of the event will be around 10 degrees below normal. As the center of the high pressure moves off the east coast of Florida by race day, temperatures will get warmer, closer to normal, and there may be a slight increase in clouds and humidity. But likely not enough for any chance of rain.
There is good model agreement on this pattern, so I'm pretty confident that this forecast will hold up through the week, and probably won't have significant changes as we get closer to the race. I plan on having the next update posted on Tuesday.
Doug Schneider and Scott Martin 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, Pirelli World Challenge, World Endurance Championship, and Trans Am Series races, as well as major SCCA and NASA events.