Record Heat at the Indy 500

May 27, 2012; 9:34 PM ET
Share |

Indianapolis and much of the Ohio and Tennessee valleys will be in the throes of the first heat wave of the season, and it will be a doozy.

Just that has been forecast by since the start of the week for much of the region spanning Saturday, today and Memorial Day with the Indianapolis 500 right smack in the middle of the heat and on what may be the hottest day of the entire stretch. And that forecast hasn't changed.

The temperatures is forecast not only to eclipse the daily record today of 94 degrees set in 1911, but it could also rival the May record.

According to the National Weather Service office in Indianapolis, the hottest temperature ever for May was 96 degrees, which occurred way back in 1911 on May 28. Prior to that, the temperature also reached 96 degrees in 1895 on May 31.

While the date of the Indy 500 varies from year to year, temperature forecasts predict it could be the hottest race on record. Daily record temperatures during the last seven days of May at Indianapolis range from 93 to 96 degrees, according to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

The high temperature record for the at the Indy 500 is 92 degrees set on May 31, 1937.

There was a heat wave during the week leading up to the first Indy 500 in 1911. Temperatures set record highs spanning May 26 to 28 that year of 94, 94 and 96 degrees respectively. However, the heat wave broke a couple of days prior to the race with temperatures on race day peaking at 81 degrees.

Rain is not expected to be an issue for this year's 500. There is a greater chance of a thunderstorm at Indianapolis spanning Memorial Day into Tuesday as cooler air begins to move in high overhead, making the atmosphere more unstable.

Folks heading to this year's 500 at Indianapolis should be prepared for very hot and humid conditions and blazing sunshine much of the day.

Folks in the stands are likely to be in the "hot seat."

Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and wear a hat to break the sun. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids to remain hydrated. As a friendly reminder, the consumption of alcoholic beverages contribute to dehydration, rather than hydration.

Even those who are not extremely sensitive to hot weather are encouraged to take breaks from the sun.

The heat will be an issue for the drivers, engines and tires.

According to Forensic Weather Expert Meteorologist Ed Adams, "With temperatures forecast to peak in the middle 90s under sunshine much of the day, pavement temperatures will likely reach and exceed 120 degrees."

The less dense, hot air will translate to less down force on the cars, making the track seem more slippery. The tires will heat up more and could lead to faster tire wear and more failures than usual.

Engines are less efficient in extreme heat, resulting in lower horsepower.

Drivers and crews will struggle to keep from getting fatigued and to stay hydrated.


Comments left here should adhere to the Community Guidelines. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.

More Weather News

Daily U.S. Extremes

past 24 hours

  Extreme Location
High N/A
Low N/A
Precip N/A


This Day In Weather History

Illinois, Kentucky (1796)
Famous cold day; Cairo, -7.5 degrees, -13 degrees in parts of Kentucky. The Mississippi River became frozen.

Eastern U.S. (1966)
Coastal storm develops in Gulf States & moves up East Coast. "A widespread white Christmas" Thunder & vivid lightning reported along with heavy rain & snow from Baltimore, north to Rhode Island. JFK Airport closed for 24 hours because of drifting. Washington, D.C. 6.5", Baltimore, MD 11", Philadelphia, PA 12.4", Morristown, NJ 12.4", Atlantic City, NJ 6.6", Allentown, PA 13.1", West Chester, PA 24", High Point State Park 19", Central Park, NY 7.1", Poughkeepsie, NY 13", Albany, NY 18.3", Pittsfield, MA 17", Burlington, VT 14.9".

Boston, MA (1966)
67 mph winds blew down Christmas decorations. Storm was of great benefit to holiday skiers; up to 20" of snow in VT and NH mountains.