Get your raincoats ready for Saturday if you plan to be in Louisville, Kentucky. The weather forecast for the 2019 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs doesn't look so sunny and bright. According to an AccuWeather report published on Thursday, people attending the Kentucky Derby should be prepared for potential rain, lightning, and thunderstorms which are expected to start on Friday.
Such weather is also expected to impact the Longines Kentucky Oaks race on Friday evening, AccuWeather reported. The Friday night race for fillies, 3-year-old horses, could be delayed due to the possible lightning, according to AccuWeather. Temperatures for both races are expected to stay in the low 70s range.
Weather experts for AccuWeather said that the rain may take place for a part of Saturday when competitors are preparing for the Kentucky Derby. Maura Kelly, meteorologist for AccuWeather, reported, "The stream of moisture that has brought rounds of rain and thunderstorms from the southern Plains to the Midwest will shift east on Friday and Saturday as high pressure over the Southeast retreats over the Atlantic Ocean."
In 2018, Kentucky Derby attendees had to steel themselves for record rain. Pouring for hours, according to WLKY, the rain was responsible for creating some seriously slippery conditions for jockeys and their horses. Though not as heavy as last year, this year's weather forecast for the Kentucky Derby is similarly gray and wet.
If you're planning to go to the Kentucky Derby, it may help to keep an eye on hour-by-hour predictions for weather on Saturday. According to The Courier Journal, there is a 70% chance for rainfall from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. local time. Then from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. local time, the potential for showers goes up to 72% before coming down to 35% from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
The publication's weather projections for the Kentucky Derby seem to echo what meteorologist Kelly predicted for AccuWeather. "Temperatures will reach into the lower 70s (Fahrenheit) on Saturday, but limited sunshine and damp conditions can make it feel slightly cooler," she said.
"A period of steadier rain is expected in Louisville on Saturday as the last of this moisture pushes through," Kelly added. "Racegoers should be prepared with rain gear and shoes for muddy conditions in the infield."
For the estimated 160,000 fans who plan to attend the Kentucky Derby, such cloudy and rainy conditions may not sound too fun. But if it's any consolation, weather predictions for the 2019 Kentucky Derby seem mild in comparison to its predecessor, which was called the "wettest Kentucky Derby" by the National Weather Service.
For those who plan to attend the race in person, the official website for the Kentucky Derby has some pretty practical advice. When it comes to dressing chic, organizers suggest that you prioritize your comfort over fashion and consider bringing sunscreen and a transparent poncho for any rainfall. It's worth remembering that the Kentucky Derby does not allow attendees to bring umbrellas; they tend to block the view of people in the crowd.
For those who can't make it to the horse race event, NBC Sports will livestream the Kentucky Derby on Saturday at 9 a.m. PT. No raincoats needed.