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Rain, storms may hamper Indy 500 practice and qualifying this weekend

Rounds of rain and thunderstorms will threaten to postpone practice and qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend.

A slow-moving storm will send wet weather and even locally severe storms across central Indiana and much of the Midwest during the first part of this weekend.

"A downpour can occur at any time through Saturday night," according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.

"However, in between track drying operations and additional rain, it may be possible for some practice and qualifying."

Static Indy Qualifying 9 am

The downpours could last from minutes to a few hours. Some of the downpours will be heavy enough to cause poor drainage flooding in the area.

This weekend, the greatest chance of severe thunderstorms will be during Saturday night when there will be the potential for frequent lightning strikes and powerful wind gusts.

There is also the potential for an isolated tornado in central Indiana during Saturday night.

People should closely monitor weather conditions and severe weather bulletins as they are issued. Seek shelter indoors. If thunder is audible, then lightning could be a risk. Tent canopies do not offer adequate protection during thunderstorms.

"Aside from the downpours, it will feel warm and humid through Saturday," Abrams said.

High temperatures through Saturday will be within a few degrees of 80 F.

Should qualifying get postponed, the weather will improve on Sunday and humidity levels will begin to lower.

Sunday will transition from cloudy and wet conditions to start to breaks of sunshine and dry weather during the afternoon hours.

Static Indy Practice May 17, 2017

Alexander Rossi pulls out of the pit area during a practice session for the Indianapolis 500 IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Wednesday, May 17, 2017 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The weather for Monday will be ideal for qualifying, if necessary. Sunshine, low humidity and temperatures peaking in the middle 70s are forecast.

"The conditions through Saturday night may not be a preview of the weather for next weekend," Abrams said. "At this time, we expect cool conditions with low humidity for the Memorial Day weekend, and the Indy 500 next Sunday."

While a shower or thunderstorm cannot be ruled out at some point next weekend, much of the time should be free of rain.