Forecast calls for rain at Churchill Downs | News Coverage from USA

Forecast calls for rain at Churchill Downs

There’s a pretty good chance it will rain Saturday during the 2019 Kentucky Derby. We know, we know. The weather has been soggy on Derby Day in Louisville for the past three years. 

The wet pattern should continue Saturday at Churchill Downs, with a strong chance of showers and thunderstorms throughout most of the day, according to the National Weather Service. 

Louisville can expect about half an inch of rain on Saturday, but the added possibility of thunderstorms means that amount should be taken “with a bit of a grain of salt,” NWS meteorologist Tom Reaugh said. 

In any case, we can expect less rain than last year, when a record-setting 3.15 inches fell in Louisville, according to the National Weather Service. 

As far as timing, a wave of showers and storms is expected to move through in the morning before noon. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., there is a 99 percent chance of rain, along with a slight chance of thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service.

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Those chances will lessen to about 75 percent between 6 and 7 p.m., offering a slight glimmer of hope that it could be dry by the 6:50 p.m. post time.

Reaugh said showers may linger in the Louisville area until 8 p.m.

“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,” AccuWeather meteorologist Maura Kelly said. “A period of steadier rain is expected in Louisville on Saturday as the last of this moisture pushes through.” 

Here’s an hour-by-hour look at temperatures and rainfall potential for Saturday morning through the evening, based on NWS data:

9 a.m. — 66 degrees with a 34 percent chance of rain
10 a.m. — 68 degrees with a 34 percent chance of rain
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. — 69 degrees with a 99 percent chance of rain
6 p.m. — 69 degrees with a 74 percent chance of rain
7 p.m. — 69 degrees with a 64 percent chance of rain
8 p.m. — 67 degrees with a 50 percent chance of rain
9 p.m. — 65 degrees with a 48 percent chance of rain

Rain or shine, a massive crowd will undoubtedly still flock to Churchill Downs for the most prestigious horse race in the world. After all, more than 157,000 attended last year’s “mudder of all Derbies.”

Reach Billy Kobin at or 502-582-7030



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