By Scott Martin
Friday continues to look nearly picture perfect for a late Winter's day in St. Petersburg. After starting off very cool with temperatures around 50 degrees at 7 AM, it will warm nicely throughout the morning and early afternoon hours, topping out in the upper 60s. Winds out of the northeast at 4-11 MPH will make those temperatures feel a little cooler, so a light jacket or long sleeve might be needed.
Warm air advection starts kicking in as the flow shifts to out of the southeast due to low pressure that will be building in over the northern parts of Alabama and the southern parts of Tennessee. This will start to bring moisture into the area during the day on Saturday, and a very slight risk for a passing shower is possible during the early afternoon hours, and becoming more likely as we reach the end of the afternoon hours and move into the evening. Chance of rain will start off at 20% for the afternoon, but will increase after the on-track activity has completed for the day. We may have a rumble or two of thunder, but is unlikely at this time. Afternoon highs will top out in the mid-70s, after starting off in the mid-50s at 7 AM. Winds will be a little higher on average out of the southeast at 7-11 MPH.
While Sunday looks to be an overall wet day, I do believe that it will not be an all-day rain event. The only problem is that models continue to have scattered shower activity nearby for much of the day, especially for the late morning through the late afternoon hours. There is a decent chance that a good part of the morning will be dry, but I can't rule out a passing shower. Unfortunately, those showers will become more likely as the center of low pressure over north Alabama continues to move eastward dropping more activity into Florida. Rain could be heavy at some point, and we may have to watch out for a little bit of lightning as there will be enough instability present. Also, winds will become quite breezy at times as the pressure gradient tightens over the area. With the rain being scattered in nature, I'm putting the chance at 60%, but that will more than likely go up as we get closer to Sunday. Highs will top out in the upper 70s and winds will be out of the southwest at 13-18 MPH, with gusts up to 25 MPH possible.
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.