For the first time in its 54 year history, the Daytona 500 was postponed due to weather Sunday. The race was initially rescheduled for noon today, but was pushed back to 7 p.m. tonight after more showers. As race time draws closer, it’s still not clear if weather conditions will allow it to proceed.
Meteorologist Brian Neudorff, who pens a NASCAR weather blog and has been posting updates for SBNation, wrote just after 3 p.m. that conditions should improve enough for the race to go tonight:
Radar cleared out earlier this but scattered showers and a few thunderstorms have formed this afternoon and could linger into the early evening. Despite the developing rain showers this afternoon we should be good to go at 7 p.m. with only a small chance of a delay.
But in a recent Twitter update, Neudorff (@nascar_wxman) backtracked a bit, noting the possibility of a delay...
Before I go to work my current thoughts. Still think we race tonight, There is a possibility of delay. Exp some showers to weaken #NASCAR— Brian Neudorff (@NASCAR_WXMAN) February 27, 2012
National Weather Service radar shows showers and thunderstorms just south of Daytona now, but with more to the west. However, the showers to the west appear to be weakening some.
In its technical discussion, the NWS office serving (in Melbourne, Fl.) serving Daytona wrote the following:
TONIGHT...THE SHORTWAVE IMPULSE [responsible for the earlier rain] WILL BE OFF THE FLORIDA EAST COAST AND INTO THE WESTERN ATLANTIC EARLY THIS EVENING. SOME LINGERING SHOWER/ISOLATED STORM ACTIVITY MAY BE POSSIBLE DUE TO RESIDUAL MOISTURE AND POTENTIAL BOUNDARY COLLISIONS FROM EARLIER IN THE DAY.
If the rain holds together and moves into the region too close to race time, the race will probably be moved to Tuesday.
“Once the track is wet, it takes approximately two hours to dry off. So, even a passing shower can do much damage to plans of getting an entire 500-mile race in with these conditions,” wrote AccuWeather.
The forecast for Tuesday is much improved, with little to no chance for rain.