Meteorology watch: What to expect at Pocono

By Chief Meteorologist Dante Ricci
July 27, 2017

Hello race fans! This weekend, our team will be at the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.

There are three major touring series events for you to look forward to, with all race activities scheduled from Friday, July 28th through Sunday, July 30th.

This will be a two-day race weekend for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton’s 400, with no on-track Cup Series activity scheduled for Friday.

When planning ahead for yet another major weekend of racing, one of the most important keys to success for any race fan should be to consider the impacts of Mother Nature.

In 2016, Pocono Raceway became the first facility during the series’ 69-year history to have both of its Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events rescheduled due to inclement weather within the same season.

As a courtesy to race fans, the track has implemented a Worry-Free Weather Guarantee beginning this season for certain Sunday tickets.  No need to worry, folks! We have you covered with some of the best weather information necessary to plan a great weekend of auto racing. And by the way, things are looking pretty good for this upcoming Sunday!

What kind of weather should you expect for this weekend?
Being at a higher elevation, Pocono Raceway is more susceptible a wide variety of weather on an annual basis that only occasionally is observed down at sea level.

We may see some dense fog, heavy mist, and mostly cloudy conditions with heavy rain and thunderstorms to begin our race weekend, only for that big mess to clear out and end up with dry, sunny, and very comfortable weather conditions to end the weekend’s festivities just like it did last weekend in Indianapolis.

High temperatures each day will be in the mid to upper 70s. We may hit the low 80s on Sunday if we are lucky, which is still very comfortable for this time of year.

For your upcoming Thursday evening, there is a chance for severe thunderstorms in the region. Mid-to-late July is peak thunderstorm season for Northeastern Pennsylvania.  

As indicated by the National Weather Service (NWS), severe thunderstorms can produce hail one inch or greater in diameter, wind gusts of 58 miles per hour or greater, and possibly a tornado.   Heavy rain and the possibility of flash flooding can occur with any thunderstorm that manages to form. With this being the last weekend of the month, you should always know that any forecast for thunderstorms should not be taken lightly this time of year in Long Pond. The organization’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC) located in Norman, Oklahoma, has placed the region within a slight risk area for severe weather Thursday for most of the region, including all of the Poconos, Lehigh Valley, Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey.  

Since this is a two-day Cup weekend, not as many fans will be traveling to their lodging reservations and hotels this Thursday evening as normally expected.

Many current forecast models indicate some late night scattered thunderstorms in the Poconos late Thursday and early Friday, with a few storms capable of being severe.

Before traveling Thursday evening, fans should check current conditions and alerts, including any watches and warnings, to be safe and weather aware!

Friday looks to be the soggiest day of the race weekend, which may impact on-track activities for both the ARCA and Camping World Truck Series.

A coastal low pressure system, which is rare for July, may develop and move over portions of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, which could provide us a good soaker for Friday.

Looking forward to a pace car ride on Friday Morning? Well, we would recommend waiting  until Saturday or Sunday for your thrill seeking experience.

I will call for a 60 percent chance of rain on Friday, which could be heavy at times.  While an isolated severe threat is still possible, Friday’s storms will mainly be big time rain makers.

A rain poncho or jacket is highly recommended for your Friday to keep dry. Sleep in if you can, as chances for on-track activity look really good for the next two winning days of the weekend!

For now, Saturday and Sunday look to be the best two days for racing! Some cloud cover, overcast skies, and even a morning shower are possible on Saturday, but it will not be a washout by any means by the afternoon hours.

Sunday looks to be a warm, dry, and clear day for racing. NASCAR has placed later start times on many Cup races throughout the 2017 season.

The green flag for Sunday’s Overton’s 400 is tentatively scheduled for around 3:20 PM Eastern, with sunset occurring at 8:19 PM.  With no lights at Pocono Raceway, NASCAR has five good hours of daylight to get Sunday’s race in.

Fans attending this weekend should bring plenty of sunscreen to get through the weekend. Always be sure to drink plenty of water and fluids both during the days leading up to the weekend and while at the track. Be sure to stay cool and hydrated for a long weekend of racing, and we hope you enjoy the excitement of watching your favorite drivers compete at the Tricky Triangle this weekend!

DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

Dante Ricci/The Racing Experts

National Weather Service
Pocono Raceway

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