All eyes on the sky as the countdown to the Kentucky Derby is on. One day left and the forecast is looking promising for the horses that will perform best on a dry track. Clouds will be lingering today as a system passes over the Great Lakes and that will keep temperatures in the 60s. But with clearing skies tomorrow, highs will jump into the mid 70s with winds coming out of the west at 15 mph. Sunshine will persist through the afternoon with just a few clouds heading into the evening.
What will this mean for tomorrow’s race? From The Bleacher Report, “For the race, the clear outlook is good news for California Chrome and the other top contenders. The trainers of the best horses in any given race want to take away as many variables as possible, with weather being one of the most important. That’s especially true when it comes to a massive field like the Kentucky Derby. When the horses race in the slop, falling behind early becomes an even bigger disadvantage because all of the mud gets kicked right into the trailing pack’s faces.”
Rain isn’t an all that uncommon of an occurrence on the day of the race and as shown in the statistics below, it rains 47% of the time, which, of course plays a huge role in the outcome of the race. Read more about the history of the weather on Derby day as compiled by the National Weather Service in Louisville.
From the Louisville National Weather Service:
Coldest temperature: 36° May 4, 1940 and May 4, 1957
Coldest high temperature: 47° May 4, 1935 and May 4, 1957
Coldest average daily temperature: 42° May 4, 1957
(The cold temperatures on May 4, 1957 were accompanied by 20 to 25 mph north winds!)
Warmest temperature: 94° May 2, 1959
Warmest low temperature: 72° May 14, 1886
Warmest average daily temperature: 79° May 14, 1886
Wettest: 2.31″ of rain May 11, 1918
Frozen precipitation: On May 6, 1989 sleet was observed from 1:01pm to 1:05pm.
Out of the 139 Derby Days, 65 (47%) experienced rain at some point during the day.
Longest stretch of consecutive wet Derby Days (24-hr): 7 (2007-2013)
Longest stretch of consecutive wet Derby Days (1pm-7pm): 6 (1989-1994)
Longest stretch of consecutive dry Derby Days (24-hr): 12 (1875-1886)
Longest stretch of consecutive dry Derby Days (1pm-7pm): 12 (1875-1886)
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