British Grand Prix Weather 2012: Friday Forecast

I usually ease into the pre-event Thursday post by mentioning one or two of the interesting comments that drivers made to the media, or perhaps with a summary line covering the weather for the weekend.  But none of that today, because I am concerned at what is likely to come tomorrow morning.

Camping is a huge aspect of the Silverstone weekend.  Litchlake and the other surrounding sites become extremely busy on the Thursday prior to GP weekend and a lot of people will have successfully set up shop this afternoon, with the hum of generators filling the air by nightfall.

weather symbol

Heavy rain expected for Friday F1 practice

However, there is a flip-side to the romance of doing a full Silverstone race weekend ‘properly’. When heavy rain comes it can be one of the most miserable places in the western world and can turn a fun weekend into a living nightmare – just ask any of the race fans who braved the insane conditions at the circuit back in 2000.

Tonight, it is the campers that I am concerned for.  It will remain mild and muggy this evening as the area of low pressure (now centred just to the south of the Republic of Ireland) drags warm, moist air from the continent and over most of England tomorrow. It will remain dry through the first part of the night, with air temperature dipping no lower than 14 Celsius.

Friday Forecast

The rain will move up from south-east England in the early hours and reach Silverstone by around 03:00-04:00.  As always it will be light at first, but it will quickly develop in the humid air and become heavy, then torrential by approximately 07:00.  If you are camping at the circuit this weekend be prepared for some nasty conditions when you wake up.  Best advice would be to secure tents, awnings and any other fixtures as much as possible, because this won’t be over in just a couple of hours.

Heavy rain will continue through much of the morning.  First practice looks like it’s dead in the water (excuse the pun) given the latest charts. One or two brave souls may test out the conditions but to be honest I expect the circuit to be red flagged before we even get to that stage.  Supporting practice sessions are also unlikely to run in the break between sessions.

Rain will continue through the early afternoon. It won’t be as heavy as the morning deluge, but it will remain very wet around the circuit.  As much as 60-80mm (two to three inches) of rainfall is expected in a 12-hour period, with the system finally clearing away to the north-west by approximately 17:00 or thereabouts.

Squally winds could develop during torrential pulses as they move through, perhaps up to 20-25 mph at times, while air temperature (not that it really matters) will reach 18 degrees Celsius.

In summary, we are looking at a band of extremely heavy rain moving in by morning, the likelihood of a washed out first session and hopefully some track action (albeit wet) during the afternoon. Good luck if you are at the circuit tomorrow and I hope you manage to make the best of a difficult situation.  I will be tweeting throughout the day with ‘nowcast’ updates on the development of this system as it crosses the region, then I will be back at around 17:00 BST tomorrow on here to reflect on the conditions and look ahead in detail to Saturday’s weather.

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4 thoughts on “British Grand Prix Weather 2012: Friday Forecast

  1. Sounds worrying for tomorrow to say the least. Hopefully the worst of the rain will miss the track. Sounds like a repeat of Monza FP1 2008 (minus the incredibly dark skies, thunder and lightning) where the track and pitlane were literally flooded.

  2. Worrying indeed. This morning the UKMO and GFS models were not alligned together on the exact track of this. GFS alluded to Silverstone catching just the south-west quadrant and that the worst of it would skirt to the north, while UKMO was plugging a direct hit but only for a few hours.

    The 12Z’s came out and both were singing from the same hymn sheet – direct hit and for longer than they had previously indicated. Like you, I hope the worst misses, because campsite-wise we could end up looking like the Friday at Hockenheim in 2000 when the track flooded, fire services were called in to pump out the water and 14 people in the campsite next to the circuit were taken to hospital, apparently after electric shocks.

  3. Well in the grand scheme of things, making sure everyone is safe is more important than whether we see cars on track or not. Naturally I’d like to see them on track, but based on what you’ve said, although it’s over 15 hours until FP1, it sounds like FP1 at least, if not support race sessions and maybe FP2 could be abandoned completely without a single car ending up on track, other than the medical/safety cars doing checks to find out whether it’s possible to allow any actual racing cars on track.

  4. The week before Silverstone I suffer from withdrawal syptoms for the party that is camping at the circuit. I survived 2000 very easily but there was a weekend 07/08? when the rain fell and the wind blew and tents were wrecked and everyone just got soaked. It will be sad if there is no action on Friday for the smug TV viewers but spare a thought for those who have paid good money to fill the stands.

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