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LIVE COMMENTARY: 2008 BRITISH GRAND PRIX - WEATHER FORECASTS AND REPORTS
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Weather Forecasts and Reports
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Mon 15:00 The Formula One World Championship returns to its birthplace this weekend for round nine of a very tight and competitive 2008 campaign – the Santander British Grand Prix from Silverstone in Northamptonshire.

The last three Grands Prix weekends have provided many question marks over the weather, with the two recent European rounds in Monaco and France being affected by low pressure systems moving in from the west. The early warning is that Silverstone will be no different, with rain expected on raceday.

The general synopsis on Monday clearly shows that a 995 millibar low pressure system is lurking out in the mid-Atlantic. This system formed several days ago and will have a large bearing on the race meeting in a few days. If we switch to the precipitation map, you can see the amount of rainfall that is embedded within the low.

From the time of writing until Wednesday morning, this low is expected to increase in size, therefore covering a much larger area as it works its way east towards the UK. Once this happens, a smaller secondary low cuts in underneath the main system and moves across France - halting the progress of the main system to the north.

The mainstream sites back this trend and are publishing a forecast of rain for raceday. Weather.com say 60 percent chance of rain on Sunday.

In summary, the general theme for the British Grand Prix weekend is a move to wet and gloomy weather on raceday - but Saturday may also be rain-affected, from a complicated weather system that is still developing out in the Atlantic. Autosport.com Live will monitor the situation over the coming days, and publish updates as and when further information is known.

Tue 19:46 General summary: Dry on Friday, rain risk from Saturday morning until after the Grand Prix.

Yesterday we mentioned the development of two low pressure systems to the west of the United Kingdom, that combined are likely to affect the forthcoming British Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone. These areas of rainfall are continuing to evolve through the early part of this week as you can see from the GFS pressure chart.

On Tuesday evening, the general synopsis shows a 995 millibar low to the north-west of Ireland, slowly moving north-west having brought rain to the Emerald Isle. Further behind this system in Newfoundland, Canada, a 1010mb low is beginning to form as we speak, and as mentioned in the original forecast published on Monday will move more swiftly eastwards, undercutting the first low pressure system as it moves across the Atlantic Ocean. The second 1010mb low then feeds off the energy from the first low as they pass each other in the mid-Atlantic. This second low becomes more potent, down to 995mb and then continues on to the UK and Ireland - affecting Silverstone from Saturday morning onwards.

This is still very much a developing weather system. Any slight swing in track or speed of either low could change the resultant forecast - particularly for qualifying and/or the race.

Tonight the news is that 'low 2' (Newfoundland) is still expected to curve round the original low and head straight for Britain this weekend. The latest rainfall projection maps show the Newfoundland-sourced rain very well, and its movement across the Atlantic as you scroll through the timestamps on the left hand side.

Friday is expected to be mainly dry for the practice day, with a maximum temperature of 19-20 degrees Celsius.

Overnight Friday into Saturday, conditions are expected to change as the showers ahead of the low pressure system arrive. Rain is due to fall anytime from dawn on Saturday morning, with the rain risk increasing throughout the day. Qualifying at this stage is likely to be rain-affected. Temperatures will be lower than on Friday - 16 or 17 degrees the maximum.

On Sunday the low centre is projected to be sitting over Wales, bringing more rain to all parts. The risk of rain for the race this evening is high with a maximum temperature of 17 degrees.

The two low pressure areas are key to outcome of the British Grand Prix weekend, and the Formula One teams will be paying very close attention to their development over the next five days. autosport.com Live will also be monitoring the maps and models closely and we will publish a further update as developments occur.

Thu 06:38 Weekend summary: Dry on Friday, very wet on Saturday, dry start on Sunday with light rain possible by race time.

Further developments have occured in the last 36 hours with a low pressure system due to affect the British Grand Prix this weekend at Silverstone.

To recap the story and general synopsis, a 995 millibar area of low pressure with plenty of rainfall, is due to move in from the west during the course of the next few days, as you can see from the GFS pressure charts.

On Tuesday evening, the computer model (which takes into account many parameters, as well as live data) showed that the low centre was projected to be sitting over Wales by Sunday morning. The updates particularly over the last 24 hours have slowed down the track of this system, with the centre now expected to be over the Republic of Ireland - a shift of some 50 to 100 miles. This will have a direct bearing on the chance of rain during the Grand Prix, although Saturday could now be much wetter than originally thought.

Today - Thursday, the Formula One drivers will arrive in the paddock this morning in the dry. However, rain is expected later towards the afternoon and early evening. Any rain will clear later tonight, leaving a dry night.

Friday practice will take place in dry conditions. There will be some sunshine around particularly in the morning, but throughout the day cloudcover will increase. The mercury will peak at 20 degrees Celsius in the afternoon session.

On Saturday the first batch of rain associated with the low pressure system arrives with a bang. Silverstone is expected to dawn dry, but overcast. Rain will sweep in from the south-west during the morning. The latest projections are that the rain will arrive before the commencement of Saturday morning practice, with a large band of rain moving through, lasting until late afternoon. Moderate to heavy rain is anticipated, with possibly 15 millimetres falling in total. The maximum temperature will reach 18 degrees Celsius.

On Saturday evening the rain belt will move away to the north, leaving the circuit to dry out. A dry night is expected with temperatures falling to 10 degrees Celsius.

The slight shift in the placement of the low pressure centre reveals itself on Sunday. Rain that was originally expected to arrive in the morning and last throughout the race, is no longer certain. Sunday morning will dawn dry and reasonably bright, with some sunny intervals. Showers are expected to move in during the day. The latest forecasts suggest rain from lunchtime onwards, in the form of showers, with a maximum temperature of 18 degrees.

Confidence in the forecasts for Thursday, Friday and Saturday is currently high. These three days have been predicted to be wet, dry, wet for some time now. Sunday is a different story, and is again too close to call at this stage until more information is gathered.

Autosport.com Live will as ever continue to monitor all the available forecasts, maps, models and radars, and if there are any further changes we will publish an update to reflect them.

Fri 16:36 General summary: Rain on Saturday, rain on Sunday.

Further to the forecasts published throughout the week, the fine details on the potential rainfall affecting Saturday and Sunday at the British Grand Prix are becoming established.

The GFS pressure chart shows in detail the low pressure system to the south-west of the British Isles, that will change a dry Friday into a wet weekend. As of Friday afternoon, the low centre is expected to increase in area slightly, and be situated over the Republic of Ireland and Wales by Sunday lunchtime - a slight shift to the east compared with the last update 30 hours ago, resulting in an increased amount of predicted rain for Sunday.

The rainfall projection maps show the periods during which rain is expected to fall during the next couple of days. The following times mentioned are based on the maps that you see before you.

Friday evening and through most of tonight it will remain cloudy, becoming overcast during the night.

The latest satellite images show the current situation, as the heavy clouds and first band of rainfall move into south Wales, and south-west England. From the rainfall radar images supplied by the UK met office and Meteox.com, the Saturday morning rain band can be tracked.

The latest forecasts, issued this afternoon, suggest that the rain will arrive shortly before the third practice session begins. The first band is expected to take between four and six hours to cross the area and will fall moderately. Up to 10 mm of rainfall is expected. Once the first wave of rain has edged away to the north-east the track will begin to dry out. It would appear that the rain will end around the time of the GP2 feature race, after Formula One qualifying.

Silverstone may catch one or two light showers in the evening, but in the main we expect it to dry up considerably through Saturday night - that is, until the second band of rain arrives.

For several hours overnight from Saturday to Sunday, the second batch of rain will pivot, possibly catching the circuit from time to time. It's a close one and could be fifty miles either way dry or wet through the hours of darkness.

On Sunday morning the second area of rain moves in, again from the south-west. This rain is expected to be more showery in nature. Frequent showers is probably the best way to put it, with Silverstone most at risk of heavier showers from 12:00 until 19:00 local time.

Temperatures are expected to peak at 18 degrees Celsius on Saturday, and 17 degrees on Sunday. Track temperatures will clearly be a lot cooler than the 35 degrees we saw during the Friday afternoon practice session.

Sat 07:42 Flash update: Raining at Silverstone, but it won't last long.

The Saturday morning rain has moved in over the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. Rain began to fall shortly after 07:00 local time this morning, wetting the track surface and washing away Friday's rubber.

The rain has intensified in the last hour as it has crossed Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire. The rain band is expected to clear away to the north soon, with the rain stopping shortly before the start of the Saturday morning practice session, and only an outside chance of a shower following on behind.

Autosport.com Live will begin coverage of Saturday at Silverstone from 08:30 GMT.

Sat 17:45 Raceday summary: Dry start, rain and showers expected later.

Saturday afternoon and early evening have remained largely dry at the circuit, with just one slight sprinkle of rain occurring between the GP2 and Formula BMW support races. It was light in nature and similar to the edge of the shower that clipped the circuit during the first period of qualifying this afternoon.

The recent satellite images show the current situation, as the low pressure centre sits over the South Irish Sea, to the west of Wales, with the bands of rain swirling around it.

Switching to the radar from the UK Met Office, the rainfall is revealed. The latest batch coming from the south-west, is due to continue towards Silverstone this evening, falling over the circuit and again washing the surface clean. The rain this evening is expected to stop sometime after dark.

The rain will then clear slowly to the north during the early hours of the morning, leaving the track to dawn dry but overcast. Sunday's batch of rain is expected again to come from the south-west, arriving towards the end of the morning. Light to moderate rain is anticipated for a time.

However, Saturday morning's band of rain decreased in size from the previous evening's prediction, so another reduction in the amount of rain for Sunday cannot be ruled out. If the band holds together as it approaches Silverstone, then around three hours of consistently light rainfall with some heavier pulses can be expected. The band of rain will clear to the north-east during early-to-mid afternoon, with heavy showers following on behind.

To sum up Sunday in a nutshell, what everyone is expecting is a band of rain late morning, easing off early afternoon with showers behind it.

If there are any changes to the forecast between now and tomorrow's race we will publish a further update. Until then, the Met Office and Meteox radars will show the story as it unfolds.

Sun 07:18 Flash update: Light rain is now falling at Silverstone. The rain has arrived in the last 15 minutes, and is set to affect the racetrack for several hours.

The track surface is damp, and moving towards a wet condition.

As you can see from the rainfall radar, Silverstone is currently experiencing the first of two bands of rain that are expected to hit today. The dark blue band to the right is the one that has produced the rain this morning, with the larger belt following on behind with a brief pause between the two.

Sun 07:33 Heavy rain has now reached Silverstone, from that first band of wet weather approaching from the south west.

A short period of rain is expected for the moment.

The track surface is now completely wet, with plenty of spray being thrown up by the Formula BMW Europe cars that are out there for their second race of the weekend.

Sun 07:51 The rain continues to fall at the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit with just over four hours remaining before the race start.

Heavy rain has lightened off in the last few minutes, but is still falling as the Formula BMW cars head towards the end of their support race, which has become a timed event rather than the scheduled 13 laps.

The light rain is due to stop sometime soon, and we will enter that brief hole in between the two bands of rain that you can see on the radar.

The second band - the larger one on the left, will then follow on later after this brief pause, but for the moment the rain continues to fall.

Please join us in just under ten minutes' time as we switch pages and bring you 'raceday at Silverstone.'

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Monday 30 Jun Start GMT
 Weather Forecasts and Reports 15:00
Friday 04 Jul
 Friday Practice 08:30
Saturday 05 Jul
 Final Practice and Qualifying 08:30
Sunday 06 Jul
 Raceday at Silverstone 08:00
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Emlyn Hughes and Geoff Creighton are autosport.com's live commentary team. The dynamic duo have developed an inimitable style and a reputation for fast, accurate and insightful commentary. With unrivaled access to events unfolding at the circuit, they bring you the very latest, as it happens.

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