After multiple days of wet weather at Churchill Downs, home to the Kentucky Derby, weather conditions will begin to dry out this late this week in time for the 140th annual event.
Through Monday of this week, the storm in its strong phase has delivered more than 2 inches of rain. Sloppy track conditions resulted from the heavy, persistent rainfall. The same storm system brought rounds of severe weather and tornadoes to the Central and Southern states.
The storm will continue the risk of flooding downpours, damaging wind gusts and hail in the vicinity of Churchill Downs through Tuesday evening.
While the old storm is forecast to linger through midweek, the system will begin to unwind and break down by week's end.
Spotty showers will occur Wednesday through Saturday, but the forecast for a more intermittent nature of the rainfall should allow conditions on the well-drained track to improve gradually.
For the 140th running of the Kentucky Oaks on Friday afternoon, the weather will be cool with sunny intervals and the chance of a shower. Temperatures will peak in the lower 60s.
While a passing shower is possible on Saturday, Derby day, the risk of severe weather will be very low, and the vast majority of the day will be rain-free.
Temperatures will peak well into the 60s with clouds breaking to allow some sunshine. Only an untimely shower during or just before the main event will result in sloppy conditions.
According to the National Weather Service in Louisville, Ky., out of the all the Derby days, 46 percent had rain at some point during the day.
The warmest Derby day was May 2, 1959, when the temperature climbed to 92 F.
The coolest Derby days were May 4 in 1935 and 1957, when the high was only 47 F.
On May 6, 1989, sleet fell for a few minutes in the afternoon.
The wettest Derby day was on May 11, 1918, when 2.31 inches of rain fell.
Just under 0.50 of an inch of rain during the six hours prior to last year's Derby resulted in sloppy track conditions with Orb pushing ahead of the field.
On May 5, 2012, the track was fast, despite nearly 1.50 inches of rain falling prior to the afternoon of the race. The track had time to drain off and dry out prior to the start of the Derby.
Since a long-lasting downpour is not expected on the day of the race, the track should be fairly fast for the 2014 Kentucky Derby.