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Don’t expect a warm, dry Formula One week in Las Vegas

Maybe it will rain and maybe it won’t. But it is going to be chilly.

That’s the latest National Weather Service forecast for Formula 1’s Las Vegas Grand Prix on Saturday night.

The weather service’s Las Vegas office generally uses three main weather forecasting computer models, says meteorologist Andy Gorelow.

“Right now (as of late Monday afternoon) they don’t agree on the timing of the rain, but they all say something is likely” he said. “It looks like rain might be out of here by the time the race starts (10 p.m.), but that timing is still in question.”

As for the temperature, a Saturday high of 68 is forecast, meaning by race time and during the race, temperatures in the low to mid-50s are likely.

The coldest F1 race was the Canadian Grand Prix of 1978, a race at Montreal that was the last of the season in early October. Temperatures dipped as low as 41 degrees, and podium trio wore winter jackets as sleet and snow fell, according to Williams Racing.

The weather service officially lists a 40 percent chance of showers Wednesday, which is when opening ceremonies are scheduled.

The shower chances are around 20 percent Thursday during the first night of practice. Friday night’s practice and qualifying activity will possibly see some showers.

Rain doesn’t automatically cause a red flag to stop an F1 race as cars have two types on rain tires. Heavy rain would be more problematic because the current F1 cars cause heavy water spray, reducing visibility. The track is 3.8 miles in length and the blocks-long main straightaway on Las Vegas Boulevard will allow speeds up to 210 mph in perfect conditions. In rainy conditions, the water spray would likely be immense.

Wind conditions will not be a factor, Gorelow said.

Tuesday should see a high near 73 in central Las Vegas with a Wednesday morning low around 51. A Wednesday high near 74 is expected. Winds should be below 10 mph.

Contact Marvin Clemons at mclemons@reviewjournal.com.

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