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LIVE COMMENTARY: 2008 GERMAN GRAND PRIX - WEATHER FORECASTS AND REPORTS
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Weather Forecasts and Reports
By Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Mon 15:00 The FIA Formula One World Championship moves to Germany this weekend, with Hockenheim the venue for round ten of the 2008 campaign - the Santander German Grand Prix.

This season has seen its fair share of rainfall compared with recent years, and the last four Grands Prix meetings in Monaco, Canada, France and Great Britain have been dominated by genuine fears of a wet weekend.

Almost unbelievably, the early forecasts suggest we could see yet more rain during this event. The developing picture, which can only give a trend, rather than a detailed forecast, currently is as follows:

The UK Met Office surface pressure charts are calling for several rain-bearing fronts to move in from the Atlantic Ocean, across the UK and into central Europe from midweek onwards. At the same time, the GFS air pressure maps show that as a low pressure area moves from Iceland to Scandinavia way to the north, it will deepen slightly and drag the yellow and green shades denoting lower air pressure, down towards Germany and indeed most of central Europe for a time.

The timing of these two factors meeting in the middle, as it were, and what it could mean for the race weekend at Hockenheim, shows up on the rainfall projection map. Showers and bands of mainly light rain are expected to sweep across Germany from Wednesday night.

At this stage, the general trend can only be established, but that trend does indeed indicate we are moving towards a wetter, more showery spell of weather just as the Grand Prix comes to town. There will of course be some drier spells between the bands of showers and general rain, thus keeping the teams and especially the Meteo France Formula One forecasting team busy for the fifth event in a row.

The mainstream sites are struggling to get a handle on the situation and are chopping and changing the forecasts each day. If the current predictions play out, then we may see wet running right from the beginning on Friday. Weatherbug, Weather Online, Wetter.net and Weather Underground today have all published a reasonable chance of rain for the first day of the event.

Temperature predictions also differ depending on which weather source you look at. Most expect highs of between 21 and 23 degrees Celsius between Friday and Sunday, whereas one or two reckon the cooler air being dragged down from the north-west will have a more pronounced effect, with temperatures struggling to reach 20 degrees. Any wind throughout the weekend will come generally from the west and is expected to be fairly light.

The forecasts and their bearing on the German Grand Prix this weekend will certainly change as more information becomes available. Autosport.com Live will keep track of developments and publish updates when further details are known.

Tue 17:06 Uncertainty remains over the weather forecasts ahead of this weekend's Santander German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.

The recent updates from the GFS model maps, continue with the presence of a low pressure area to the north in Scandinavia enlarging through the middle of this week. Later, towards the weekend, high pressure in the Atlantic Ocean moves into western Europe, as it begins to push aside the low to the north east.

Monday and Tuesday at the circuit were dry with a good amount of sunshine and warm temperatures - perfect conditions for Kimi Raikkonen, but that will change later this week.

Between the two areas of low and high pressure, Germany lies in an area of less stable weather from Wednesday onwards, with the added complication of cold and warm fronts moving in later during the weekend as seen from the Met Office synoptic charts.

Providing an accurate forecast with this set-up is extremely difficult at this stage, but the trend towards cooler temperatures with outbreaks of rain on Saturday and Sunday remains in place.

The forecasts will change again in detail as the race meeting approaches. Autosport.com Live will take another look at the forecasts on Wednesday.

Wed 22:44 Tonight, divisions are wider than at any stage this week among the worlds' major weather sources, regarding the prospects for the German Grand Prix this weekend at the Hockenheimring.

Before we look at the general synopsis and the lie of the land with respect to weather fronts and low pressure systems, lets take a quick look at jumble of signals being sent out by the local and mainstream weather outlets ahead of the race meeting:

The BBC expect rain on Friday, sunshine and showers for Saturday and a dry race, with Weatherbug in agreement with them. Weather.com this evening go with a completely dry three days. Weather Underground also predict very little in the way of rain on Friday, but with a 70 percent chance of rain on Saturday and 40 percent for raceday. Weather Online expect light rain on Friday, heavy rain on Saturday and a dry race, and finally Wetter.net predict a dry Friday, certain rain on Saturday and a risk of showers for the race.

Such wide-ranging forecasts just 36 hours before the race meeting commences, serve notice that an extremely complicated weather scenario is on the way for the German Grand Prix, with no-one truly able to predict with confidence what will happen next.

The most recent GFS model maps - published late on Wednesday evening - show the general synopsis that is creating such uncertainty. Low pressure to the north in Scandinavia and high pressure to the south-west are pushing against eachother. In between the two extremes, Germany sits in the mid-point, with an unstable airflow and unsettleled weather being the trend for the next few days - hence the reason why the weather sites are giving a mixture of sunshine and showers in their forecasts for the weekend ahead.

Turning to the rainfall projection maps for Europe over the coming days, we see that on Friday the chances of any serious rainfall are indeed low compared with the initial forecasts earlier this week. There is an outside chance of a light shower early on Friday morning, but nothing significant, and according to the maps published tonight, we can expect a mainly dry opening day of running on the circuit.

On Saturday the picture is expected to change considerably. Showers and more general rainfall are predicted to move in from northern France sometime in the morning, with qualifying forecast to be wet. The GFS model has consistently shown this rain feature on Saturday for the last 24 to 36 hours, covering six updates, so there is good reason to expect a wet Saturday at it stands currently.

As far as Sunday is concerned, five days with the present synoptic set-up is a little too distant to give a detailed forecast for. Sunshine with possible showers is as far as anyone will lean at this stage.

Autosport.com Live will continue to monitor the developing weather picture, and we will publish a further update on Thursday ahead of the race weekend.

Thu 17:15 Friday forecast

Inclement weather and a distinct threat of rain hang in the air over Hockenheim, ahead of tomorrow's opening day of practice for the 2008 Santander German Grand Prix.

Since the end of last week the weather computer forecasting models have predicted a change from warm and sunny, to a cooler, more showery scenario. On Wednesday the first changes appeared with clouds moving in over the circuit. By the time darkness fell it was raining lightly, and further rain fell on Thursday morning. This afternoon the rain moved away and the track is dry this evening, with overcast skies.

The European rainfall prediction maps show that this evening an area of showers is moving from south-east England, across the channel into Belgium, then later further south-east into Germany.

The best of the local rainfall radars picks up the movement of showers arriving in northern and western Germany tonight. These will make their way south-east, giving a chance of showers overnight and through tomorrow morning. In between the showers, there will be mainly cloudy skies and even a brief spell of sunshine here and there.

Friday is going to all about watching the radar and waiting. In summary, there is a chance of showers overnight and in the morning, with showers less likely throughout the afternoon. The maximum temperature will peak at 22 degrees Celsius, with track temps varying widely through the course of the day.

Saturday and Sunday remain unsettled with the prospect of rain and heavier showers in most forecasts.

Please join us from 07:30 GMT on Friday morning here on autosport.com Live, as we bring you live text commentary from the opening day of action at the 2008 German Grand Prix.

Fri 05:58 Friday flash update

Showers have fallen during the night and early in the daylight hours. The circuit is wet, with the prospect of a further shower falling before the start of this morning's practice session according to the rain radar.

Join us at 07:30 GMT as proceedings get underway at a damp and slippery Hockenheim.

Fri 15:17 Saturday summary: Rain on the way? Too close to call ...

The fact that showers have been widely forecast is well known by now. An area of low pressure to the north is pushing back high pressure to the south west, bringing weather fronts containing rain and showers to central Europe this weekend, as shown on the GFS pressure charts.

During this evening a large area of showers and more general rain is set to sweep across north and central France, moving towards Germany, coming from the west, as seen from the rainfall projection maps. As this band of wet weather crosses the German border, it is thought that it will begin to curve anticlockwise, towards a more north-easterly direction.

As you can see from the map, by scrolling through the timelines, this area of rain and showers is a close-run feature for arriving at the circuit. A shift 50 miles to the south and Hockenheim could resemble Silverstone on raceday. A shift 50 miles to the north and Hockenheim could remain largely dry through most of the day. It is too close to call for certain, even this near to the event.

Most of the major weather sites are covering themselves by rolling a high percentage chance of rain, just in case the circuit catches the brunt of this band of rain.

Some small showers of mainly light rain are expected to move through the Baden-Wettenburg region tonight, with the main band moving into Germany after dawn.

The most sensible advice that we can give today is that if you wish to follow the development of the system, then the updating European satelite images, allied to the best French and German rainfall radars are the perfect tools to monitor the situation.

The maximum temperature tomorrow will be 20 degrees Celsius, with a slight westerly breeze.

If there are any significant updates between now and the commencement of Saturday commentary from Hockenheim, we will publish an updated forecast.

Sat 16:05 Sunday forecast: Mainly dry.

On Saturday Hockenheim got away with it. We did mention yesterday that the approaching band of showers could slide 50 miles in either direction. In reality that is just what happened - the main clump of showers moved north, with the circuit missing a couple of them by less than ten miles - including the second one of the day, which Williams race engineers were telling their drivers about on the radio, saying that there would be rain towards the end of practice three. That one slid north too.

Since the end of qualifying, the conditions have remained mainly cloudy. That was, until the latter stages of the GP2 feature race, when a short, sharp shower in the last 10 laps spiced up the action.

This evening showers are intensifying at an alarming rate across the region, with some very heavy bursts among them. Throughout the evening and early part of the night showers are expected to occur.

Conditions will clear again during the early hours of the morning. Tomorrow should be mainly dry, as Hockenheim sits between two areas of showers. The precipitation map depicts the scenario as the green areas of moderate rainfall move around to the north and south.

Today the showers were meant to hit and in the end nothing happened. The model maps in fact did spot the trend with today's showers sliding away north of the circuit, but it was late in terms of weather forecasting. Tomorrow is predicted to be dry, so maybe the reverse will happen again and a stray shower will create action in the race.

The maximum temperature tomorrow will be 21 degrees Celsius.

Whatever happens between now and race time, you can be sure that autosport.com Live will be keeping you up to date if there are any significant weather changes at the circuit.

Sun 06:20 Sunday morning report:

It is a bright and mainly sunny start at Hockenheim this morning, with light, white clouds around and no threat of rain in the area. A band of rain in southern Germany is expected to stay south all day, resulting in a dry race where conditions will remain consistent for the competitiors.

Join us at 08:00 GMT for 'Raceday at Hockenheim' as we build up to the 2008 Santander German Grand Prix.

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Monday 14 Jul Start GMT
 Weather Forecasts and Reports 15:00
Friday 18 Jul
 Friday Practice 07:30
Saturday 19 Jul
 Final Practice and Qualifying 08:30
Sunday 20 Jul
 Raceday at Hockenheim 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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