Daytona Beach, Florida – The slow-moving forward frontier spreading across northern Florida, and the Gulf Coast may be a major headache for NASCAR fans as the Daytona Coke Zero Sugar 400 weekend begins.
The FOX Forecasting Center expects showers and thunderstorms to occur on both Saturday and Sunday, which could influence events.
Friday’s qualifying round at Daytona International Speedway was canceled due to the weather, and the forecast for Saturday is similar, with a good chance of rain during the afternoon and evening.
The system that produces wet weather is the same front that has caused historic floods in Mississippi and caused at least one death in Texas over the past week.
NASCAR uses specialized trace-drying technology to eliminate rain from race barriers
The combination of abundant humidity, sea and frontal breezes can result in up to 5 inches of precipitation accumulation during the weekend.
Most parts of the Sunshine State are expected to end 2 to 3 inches wide, especially south of the I-4 corridor.
Any storm that forms can be slow-moving and has the potential to become strong or severe with gale force winds and an abundance of lightning.
Cities located in the zone of heavy rainfall include: New Orleans; Biloxi, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; Pensacola, Florida; Jacksonville, Florida; Orlando and Tampa.
If the Daytona track can dodge the scattered storms, the race is expected to start at 7 p.m. Saturday.
With the rain, FOX Sports reports that the 2.5-mile track can take 90 to 180 minutes to dry.
Previous wet weather events have forced organizers to delay or shorten some races, and NASCAR is well aware of the threats posed by rain.
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Forecast models show the front will gradually weaken and rise northward on Sunday, but a good chance of rain will persist through the early work week along the I-95, I-75 and I-10 corridors.
All eyes will be on the Space Coast on Monday for NASA’s planned launch of the massive moon rocket.
With the launch window opening at 8:33 a.m., meteorologists say the rocket can avoid most of the scattered rain and thunderstorms that typically develop during the afternoon.
The launch teams will keep a close eye on the radar and have backup windows in case a rub should occur.