The risk of torrential downpours is in the offing for Churchill Downs as we move closer to the 138th Annual Kentucky Derby.
The Louisville area remained in a zone of midsummer warmth much of this week with high temperatures well into the 80s to near 90.
However, it appears drenching downpours and locally gusty thunderstorms are about to make their move with the potential for muddy conditions at race time.
The warmth and humidity have made the atmosphere ripe and capable of unleashing torrential downpours.
**During the middle of the afternoon, severe thunderstorms were approaching Louisville, prior to the start of the Kentucky Oaks.**
This is the current radar, centered on Louisville, Ky.
Around Louisville, the greatest risk of repeating downpours and locally gusty thunderstorms with hail and frequent lightning will come late today into Saturday midday as one or more disturbances roll in from the Plains along a southward sagging front.
While rainfall with summer weather showers and thunderstorms is often chaotic, there is the potential for 1 to 3 inches of rain at the local level during this period.
Essentially, if the Louisville gets under the "sweet spot" of the storms, it can be clobbered with flooding downpours.
According to the Louisville National Weather Service, it has rained on 63 of the 137 Derby Days (46 percent). The wettest day was May 11, 1918, when 2.31 inches of rain fell.
Indications are that the core of the rainfall will tend to shift to the south of the area during the afternoon and evening Saturday. However, there can still be stray storms and downpours left behind the main mess.
Because of the extent of the clouds, showers and thunderstorms around during the first part of the day Saturday and breaks of sun later in the afternoon, we expect temperatures to rebound into the middle 80s for the run for the roses.
The position of the front and the zone of showers and thunderstorms will be critical for timing the rain in the Louisville area and throughout the Ohio Valley. Keep checking in at AccuWeather.com for the latest forecast and radar.
This story was originally published at 10:00 a.m. CDT Thursday, May 3, 2012, and has been updated.
Following a couple of days of drier weather to end the week, steady snowfall may return to the Detroit area by Sunday.
Following the recent stretch of dry and pleasant conditions across the Dallas area, cooler weather and rain showers will return to the area for the weekend.
The punches just keep coming from Old Man Winter as another storm with snow may sweep from the Midwest this weekend into the Northeast by Groundhog Day.
An Alberta Clipper will bring a fresh wave of snow from the Midwest to the Northeast from late Wednesday through early Friday.
As it became obvious on Saturday that a major blizzard was going to hit the Northeast, the track and size of the storm became critical as to which areas would be hit the hardest.
The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks will take center stage on Sunday, Feb. 1, as Super Bowl kicks off in Glendale, Arizona.
New York City (1780)
Reported temperature of minus 16 degrees; heavy guns brought over ice of Upper Bay from Manhattan to Staten Island.
Great Olympic Blowdown along Oregon and Washington coasts as hurricane winds confined by mountains overwhelmed forests; wind gusts to 150 mph.
Mid Atlantic/ Northeast (1966)
Strong coastal storm (Jan. 29th-30th). Blizzard conditions with gale-force winds; over 50 deaths, 1-2 feet of snow with drifts to over 10 feet. Snowfall amounts and wind speeds: Washington, DC 12.0 inches Baltimore, MD 12.0 inches Roanoke, VA 17.0 inches West Virginia 12-20 inches Chesapeake Bay 10-16 inches Charlotte, NC 4.4 inches Reading, PA 11.7 inches & 54 mph winds Harrisburg, PA 10.2 inches & 42 mph winds Philadelphia, PA 8.3 inches & 38 mph winds Williamsport, PA 13.0 inches & 32 mph winds Pittsburgh, PA 6.0 inches & 35 mph winds Allentown, PA 11.5 inches & 46 mph winds State College, PA 10.0 inches Newport, PA 16.0 inches