Sat update: Weather delays Winter Classic til 8 PM
Forecast for Caps-Penguins outdoor game Saturday
Saturday update: A large area of rain is over Pittsburgh this morning (see regional radar) which will take until early-to-mid afternoon to pass through. After that, rain decreases as temperatures, currently around 50, fall back through the 40s. It was a good call to push the game back to 8 p.m.. Temps should be right around 40 degrees at faceoff with only an outside chance of a light shower. By game's end, it should be around 37 with a wind from the west around 10 mph. Bundle up.
Friday update: The bad news is that computer models are more or less unanimous is simulating about 0.5" of rain in Pittsburgh between Saturday morning and afternoon. The good news is that about 80% of it falls before 1 p.m., after which the rain gradually decreases in coverage and intensity. This timing increases the possibility that, if the game has to be delayed, it could still be played later in the afternoon or in the evening. Any rain after 3 or 4 p.m. is likely to be very light the way it looks now. Temperatures are mild early - with highs in the low 50s late in the morning, but fall back through the 40s during the afternoon as a cold front passes by. Winds will be from the south in the morning around 10 mph, gradually becoming from the west in the afternoon around 10-15 mph.
Keep reading for earlier updates and discussion...
Thursday afternoon update: Bad news. Weather models have generally trended wetter for the forecast for Pittsburgh between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday (when the Caps play the Penguins at Heinz field). The GFS model (shown above) now indicates 0.5-0.75" of rain will fall on Pittsburgh during that time span (compared to 0.25-0.5" yesterday) and another model, the NAM, also simulates moderate to even heavy rain. If there is any good news, it appears steady rain should cutoff between 3 and 6 p.m. even if scattered light showers linger, potentially opening a window to fit the game in later Saturday should the game be delayed.
From Wednesday: The Caps face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the much anticipated "Winter Classic" this Saturday at 1 p.m. at Heinz Field. As the game is being played in the open air, National Hockey League officials are keeping a watchful eye on the weather.
The concern is not the mild temperatures, which should be in the low 50s Saturday afternoon. The outdoor ice "can survive ... even warmer temperatures, thanks to a sophisticated refrigeration system that can maintain the ice temperature at 22 degrees" according to the Sporting News . The real worry is rain that "can flood the surface, make the ice uneven and make it unsafe for the players involved."
The National Weather Service's GFS (Global Forecast System) model, shown above, indicates between a quarter and half inch of rain is likely to fall in Pittsburgh during the six hours spanning the period prior to game time and the game itself. The European forecast model, not shown, simulates a similar amount of rain. The cause of the rain is a cold front which should pass through the region in the early-to-mid evening, bringing an end to the rain and colder temperatures.
If conditions, particularly steady rain or downpours, compromise the ice surface - and subsequently, player safety - or threaten to significantly disrupt the flow of the game, the NHL and its television partners can delay the start of the contest until as late as 8 p.m. In the event of a complete postponement on Saturday, the game could be moved to a noon start on Sunday. If the game cannot take place on either date, it will be rescheduled for later in the season at Consol Energy Center, where the Penguins play.
As the exact details of the rain's timing and amounts are likely to evolve over the next several days, stay tuned to this blog, as we'll provide daily updates on the forecast...
| January 1, 2011; 10:00 AM ET
Categories: EventCasts, Latest
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