Showers to Stay Away for Running of 140th Kentucky Derby

By , Senior Meteorologist
May 3, 2014; 2:20 AM ET
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After multiple days of wet weather at Churchill Downs, home to the Kentucky Derby, weather conditions will continue to dry out in time for the 140th annual event.

Through Tuesday of this week, the storm in its strong phase delivered about 2.50 inches of rain. Sloppy track conditions resulted from the heavy, persistent rainfall. The same storm system brought rounds of severe weather and tornadoes to the Central and Southern states.

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While the old storm is forecast to linger in the Midwest through the weekend, showers are expected to stay to the north, resulting in a dry weekend.

Photo of the stables at Churchill Downs taken on May 3, 2013. (Flickr Photo/Diana Robinson)

Dry weather was the story for the 140th running of the Kentucky Oaks on Friday afternoon with highs topping out in the lower 60s.

This photo of the "trophies and the spires" taken on May 2, 2009. (Flickr Photo/got2dv8)

Enough dry air is forecast to mix in over Louisville, Kentucky, on Derby day to keep showers away. The weather could be near perfect for fans, jockeys and horses with sunny intervals and temperatures peaking in the middle 70s.

According to the National Weather Service in Louisville, out of the all the Derby days, 46 percent had rain at some point during the day.

The warmest Derby day was May 2, 1959, when the temperature climbed to 92 F.

The coolest Derby days were May 4 in 1935 and 1957, when the high was only 47 F.

On May 6, 1989, sleet fell for a few minutes in the afternoon.

The wettest Derby day was on May 11, 1918, when 2.31 inches of rain fell.

Just under 0.50 of an inch of rain during the six hours prior to last year's Derby resulted in sloppy track conditions with Orb pushing ahead of the field.

On May 5, 2012, the track was fast, despite nearly 1.50 inches of rain falling prior to the afternoon of the race. The track had time to drain off and dry out prior to the start of the Derby.

Since a long-lasting downpour is not expected on the day of the race, the track should be fairly fast for the 2014 Kentucky Derby.


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