By Doug Schneider
A cold front has moved through Indianapolis, however there is still a trough of low pressure in the mid and upper levels over the area. Until this trough moves east of Indiana, there will still be a small chance of a light shower at the Speedway. The radar early this morning shows some isolated showers in the area. I expect that the chance of any showers at the Speedway will be gone before the practice session begins at 12:30 pm. The afternoon will start with mostly cloudy skies, then breaks in the clouds should become more frequent through the middle and late afternoon. Temperatures will remain cool, with a high only in the upper 60s. Winds will be from the north, sustained around 10 mph during qualifying but gusting between 15 and 20 mph at times.
By Doug Schneider
Some good news with this forecast update - the chance of rain on Saturday looks lower, and it is possible that the rain could hold off until after the day's sessions are done.
The main weather impact on Friday will be winds, which will be sustained from the south at 15 to 25 mph, gusting between 30 and 35 mph at times. This could lead to some teams choosing to have limited running time on Friday, due to the tricky conditions the winds may cause.
The forecast for Saturday is looking better than it was the last few days, as the approach of a cold front has slowed down. This will put the best chance of rain on Saturday night. Still, there is a chance of some showers and thunderstorms during the day, mainly late in the afternoon. The models are not in very good agreement on timing, and some keep the daytime hours completely dry. Hopefully there will be enough time to get qualifying done before rain arrives.
Showers and thunderstorms are likely Saturday night, then the front will pass through early Sunday morning. Some scattered showers are possible Sunday morning, but I expect that they will be gone by the time the Top 12 practice session starts at 12:30 pm. Temperatures will be cooler on Sunday behind the front, which could help produce some pretty high speeds for qualifying.
By Doug Schneider
The forecast for Indy 500 practice week and qualifying next weekend is coming into better focus today. The two days that are most likely to be impacted by weather are Wednesday and Saturday. I think all other days will have dry conditions, although there is some uncertainty about Thursday.
Opening day of practice on Tuesday should have good weather. There will be some high clouds around, creating some milky sunshine, but overall, mostly sunny is the best way to describe it. A chance of rain will arrive in the area on Tuesday night, with the bulk of the rain associated with a low pressure system will be arriving on Wednesday morning. I expect two main waves of showers and thunderstorms on Wednesday - one in the morning, and the other in the late afternoon and evening. There could be a good amount of rain too, around a half inch total, which will make track drying difficult between these two rounds, and not much sunshine to help the process. Overall, I doubt there will be much on-track activity on Wednesday.
High pressure builds over the area on Thursday, but there is some concern that afternoon showers and thunderstorms will pop up as instability increases. One model, the GFS, is pretty excited about this happening late in the day, but I am going to lean the forecast in a drier direction, which is what the NAM, ECMWF, and NBM show. These models keep the chance of rain south of central Indiana.
The main impact on Fast Friday will be winds, which will be from the south at 15 to 25 mph, with some gusts over 30 mph possible at times. This could make for difficult conditions as teams prepare their qualifying set ups. Temperatures will be warmer due to the strong south wind, reaching the upper 80s.
A cold front is expected to cross the area on Saturday. The exact timing of the frontal passage and the best chance of rain is still uncertain this far out, but I think that the qualifying sessions are likely to be impacted at some point. Sunday will be dry behind the front, and quite a bit cooler with highs in the mid 60s. This should be good conditions for some very fast speeds on Pole Day.
By Doug Schneider
The anticipation for the Indy 500 starts now, as teams start their preparation for the Greatest Spectacle In Racing. There will be a mix of conditions for teams to deal with this coming week. Please keep in mind that the farther out in time in a forecast, the lower my confidence level.
There are a few things about this forecast that I feel fairly confident about:
1) Tuesday will be dry with pleasant temperatures.
2) Showers and thunderstorms are likely to affect the practice on Wednesday.
3) There will likely be a dry period on Friday with warm temperatures as a high pressure ridge builds over the region.
4) A chance of rain returns sometime during qualifying weekend.
There are some things about this forecast that are still very uncertain:
1) The chance of rain on Thursday - there will be some instability around Indiana, but will it be enough for afternoon thunderstorms to develop? And will rain on Wednesday night exit the area before daybreak Thursday?
2) The chance of rain on Saturday - a front is expected to be near the area, but the timing and exact location of the front is uncertain this far out.
3) The chance of rain on Sunday - some models show that front pushing through, bringing cooler temperatures and dry conditions for Sunday. But other models show the front stalling across Indiana and lifting back to the north, in which case the rain chance will be higher.
I'll have updates to the forecast through the week, so check back for the latest forecast. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram - see the Social Feeds section on the right.
By Scott Martin.
Much of the morning looks to stay dry at Indianapolis with mostly sunny skies, but as we reach the late morning and into the afternoon hours, clouds will build and rain chances quickly increase from 30% at midday to as high as 60% by 4 pm. Which means, we could see showers and thunderstorms move across the track during the afternoon hours, even throughout the GMR Grand Prix. 8 am temperatures will start off around 69 degrees and the daytime high should reach around 82 degrees. Dewpoints will be in the lower to mid-60s throughout the day, so it will feel a little muggy even with no rain falling. Winds will be out of the south to southwest to start with, but will shift to out of the west to southwest by afternoon, averaging around 2-8 mph. Rainfall amounts could exceed 0.25" if a storm passes over the track.
There is also a Marginal Risk for severe storms up for the area, so storms may become strong to severe, with gusty winds and small hail possible. Remember, if lightning is detected within a few miles of the track, all activity will be stopped and everyone will be instructed to seek shelter.
By Scott Martin.
No weather issues on Friday as skies will be sunny to start with, before a few clouds form during the afternoon hours. Temperatures at 8 am will be around 63 degrees and will top out around 83 degrees during the afternoon. Winds will be out of the southeast at 5-10 mph and the chance of rain is at 0%.
A frontal boundary will move across the area on Saturday, and with a modestly unstable airmass in place, convective showers and thunderstorms look to become likely during the afternoon hours, unfortunately during the time for the grand prix. With weak winds aloft, any storms will be slow moving and rainfall amounts may be heavy at times. Hopefully, the rain will not be heavy and lightning will not affect the on-track activities. There is a small chance of a shower during the morning hours, but I believe that it will remain dry at this point. * am temperature will be around 65 degrees and will warm up to around 81 for the afternoon high. Rain chances will increase from 30% in the morning to as high as 70% during the afternoon. Winds will be out of the southeast to start with, then shift out of the southwest at 5-10 mph.
By Scott Martin.
At 7:41 am, rain and thunderstorms are starting to move over Barber Motorsports Park prior to the on-track activity. While there is lightning in the area, the track or any of the series will not allow any activity on the track until the threat of lightning has passed.
The good news is that the shower and storm activity with this cluster has been dissipating and shrinking somewhat as we have gone through the morning, and that trend shall continue. Estimates at this point for the activity to come to an end at the track is around 10 am - 11 am.
The latest runs of the high-resolution forecast models show that there will be some redevelopment of scattered showers and storms, but at this point, none of that activity looks to invade the racetrack until after 5 pm this evening. Of course, the forecast can change, and I'll have any radar updates on Twitter throughout the day as I will be at Barber for the race.
Sky Cover: Cloudy through morning, becoming partly cloudy during the afternoon.
Rain chances: 100% this morning, dropping to 30% through the afternoon.
Daytime high: 80F
Winds: SW at 5-10 mph
By Scott Martin.
While humidity levels will be higher on Friday, the good news is that the chance of rain has dropped out of the forecast at this point. Skies will be partly to mostly sunny throughout the day, with temperatures starting off around 62 at 8 am and warming up to around 83 for the afternoon high. Winds will be out of the south to southeast at 5-10 mph.
I am going to keep a very small chance of a scattered afternoon shower or thunderstorm in the forecast (around 30%) for Saturday, as there will be enough available moisture and instability for pop-up activity to form. We'll have a mix of sun and clouds throughout the day, with temperatures starting off around 64 degrees at 8 am and rising to around 82 for the afternoon high. Winds will be out of the south at 5-10 mph.
Unfortunately, showers and thunderstorms will stay in the forecast at times on Sunday, as much of the activity will take place during the morning hours. However, with the main heating of the day, we could see a few showers and storms redevelop during the afternoon hours. The good news is that this will not be a complete washout, and I have good confidence that we'll get all of the laps in the main event completed. I'm bumping the rain chances up to 70% during the morning and into the early afternoon hours, then dropping those to around 30% late afternoon to early evening. Skies will be mostly cloudy, with temperatures starting off around 65 degrees at 8 am and topping out around 81 for the high. Winds will be out of the south to southwest at 2-8 mph.