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LIVE COMMENTARY: 2008 ITALIAN 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 While the events of yesterday at Spa and subsequent talking points remain the focus of many, the passage of time waits for no-one, and the FIA Formula One World Championship season marches on rapidly to its next stop - round 14 in Monza, Italy.

The teams have left the rain at Spa and the storm clouds of the stewards' room and head south, for a comparatively short road-trip by Formula One standards, towards Milan and the sport's cathedral of speed.

In the first half of this week the weather is set to be very welcoming in northern Italy, with high pressure dominating, bringing pleasant conditions and warm temperatures in the high twenties Celsius range while the teams set up their garages for the race weekend.

A change is on the way however, as you can see from the surface pressure charts, with a weak low pressure system moving in to western Europe, spreading south east and bringing with it less predictable weather.

On Friday, thundery showers are possible with most meteorological agencies forecasting between 50 and 70 percent chance of showers. Saturday and Sunday do look better, but the European rainmaps show that rain is present in all directions surrounding Monza across the three days of the event, as this low continues to move over the region.

Just as last week, there will be numerous small changes to the predicted forecasts, depending on how the models think the low will move during the next few days. It is therefore wise to let the forecasts settle down for a time, while we wait for more reliable information. The general summary as of today is pleasant and warm, with possible changes coming for the weekend.

Wed 06:45 Monza and wet weather is a worrying combination, but one that Formula One is likely to see a lot of this weekend, as the sport moves towards round 14 of a season that is beginning to reach boiling point.

The initial forecast, published on Monday, suggested that rain would be possible on Friday, with Saturday and Sunday mainly dry.

Since then, the forecasts have deteriorated considerably.

The GFS model pressure charts show that an area of low pressure will move much closer to Italy, and be more potent than originally thought. The consequences of this development will provide an alarming backdrop to what was already guaranteed to be a highly-charged weekend.

As you can see by scrolling through the pressure charts, a low pressure system is set to develop in north-west France early on Friday. It will deepen slightly and move south-east, towards Italy during the course of the weekend. Switching to the rainmap, the full extent of the rain associated with this low can be seen.

On Friday, the Formula One practice sessions are expected to escape with dry conditions prevailing, but only just. Later on, the showers and bands of heavy rain will arrive, soaking the track overnight.

Saturday and Sunday are widely expected to be very wet by most weather sources. Weather.com lead the way with a flat 60 percent chance of rain on all three days. Weather Underground are convinced, predicting a 90 percent chance of rain for Saturday and 70 percent for Sunday.

Local weather agencies are usually a better yardstick to guage wet forecasts by, as they tend to know their own climate in a more complete way than a mainstream forecast. The percentages are equally high there as well. 3BMeteo forecast a 90 percent chance of rain on Friday night, with further rain expected on Saturday morning, Saturday night and throughout Sunday. Excite Italia suggest a 70 to 90 percent chance of rain across the weekend.

Temperatures are set to plummet as the low approaches. On Wednesday the maximum is expected to touch 30 degrees Celsius. By contrast, on Sunday the mercury may only peak at 17 degrees.

In summary, the forecast from Friday evening onwards is not good, and if the current predictions are maintained during the next 24 hours, concerns will quickly mount in the pitlane as low downforce meets low grip.

On Thursday we will take another detailed look at the weather, ahead of the Friday practice sessions at Monza.

Thu 17:00 Forecasts of a wet weekend are beginning to subside slightly as the Formula One community gathers in the Parco di Monza, ahead of round 14 of the 2008 World Championship - the Santander Italian Grand Prix.

A low pressure system, developing over northern France, is set to move south-east towards Italy on Friday and Saturday, bringing with it showers and some longer spells of rain. On Sunday the low centre is predicted to sit over the north-west corner of Italy.

Although the chances of rain remain high, the overall volume of rain that was predicted 24 hours ago for the east side of France, Switzerland and northern Italy, is now slightly less.

On Friday morning, with the full effect of the weather yet to reach the circuit, the first practice session should take place in dry and increasingly cloudy conditions. During the afternoon practice session, the risk of showers will increase. The warm temperatures seen over much of Italy will continue on Friday at least, with a maximum of 27 degrees Celsius.

Later in the afternoon on Friday and through the evening, scattered showers are forecast, before a large belt of heavy rain moves in on Saturday morning.

Saturday now looks like the worst of the three days, with rain arriving reasonably early in the morning - around the time of the third practice session. Conditions will deteriorate quickly as the band of wet weather moves from west to east, with the heaviest of any rain reserved for around midday, just as we move towards the qualifying session.

Rain is expected to fall for much of the day, with the risk lowering to scattered showers on Saturday evening. The maximum temperature will be a few degrees cooler, peaking at 23 Celsius.

Sunday is still a little way off at this stage, but the latest forecasts currently show that the clearing picture will continue overnight into raceday, with further showers expected on Sunday morning. Throughout the day the rain risk increases yet again as the last of the rain starts to move in from eastern France. The temperature on Sunday is expected to be 21 degrees Celsius.

Join us tomorrow at 07:30 GMT on autosport.com Live for the opening practice sessions at Monza.

Fri 15:20 Saturday summary: Severe rain expected.

This morning started with a damp circuit and some tentative running with tricky track conditions. Many drivers decided to wait for improving weather, which didn't arrive. Rather than improve, the heavens opened and Monza was drenched in a heavy downpour from a rapidly-developing thunder cell that brought a complete halt to any sensible activity on the circuit.

Gradually the thunderstorm moved away, allowing the track to dry out slowly during the break between sessions.

Despite the spectacular conditions today, for some time now Saturday has been marked out as the most severe of the three days of unsettled weather during the Italian Grand Prix weekend.

The following forecast is based on the GFS and UK Met Office computer models, as well as all available mainstream and local weather sources.

This evening, showers are expected across northern Italy, with heavy rain arriving during the night. As you can see from the GFS rainfall projection maps, a large swathe of heavy rain is forecast to arrive towards dawn on Saturday.

As we move through the early morning, the rain is expected to to intensify, falling heavily at times. All mainstream and local forecasts are taking this area of wet weather very seriously, with many sites predicting chances of rain between 70 and 100 percent. Other sources such as Weatherbug and Weather Underground are forecasting a 100 percent chance of rain for tomorrow.

So, rain tomorrow would seem certain, but how much rain is expected?

Put simply, Monza is forecast to receive a lot of rain. 3B Meteo forecast between 10 and 20 millimetres in the morning, and between four and ten millimetres of rain in the afternoon. Weather-forecast.com have laid out the totals in a table, with up to 30 millimetres of rain anticipated for the 24 hour period on Saturday.

The heaviest of the rain is expected to fall between 08:00 and 16:00 local time, with the story of tomorrow looking set to be dictated by precisely when, and how much, rain falls.

Autosport.com Live will continue to monitor the situation and will provide a further update if the predictions do change ahead of Saturday's practice session.

Sat 04:52 Rain has fallen in the early hours of the morning at Monza, leaving the area wet.

It is not raining over the circuit currently, but further rain is expected towards the start of the final practice session.

While the rain is forecast to fall for much of the day, wildly speculative totals predicted by some sources of 50 millimetres and more are set to be erroneous.

Sat 07:12 Heavy showers are on the move, heading north towards Monza.

No rain has fallen since a short, sharp thundery cell (much smaller than yesterday morning) passed through at 04:30 local time this morning, but more is on the way.

The circuit is drying out again following the overnight shower.

From the satellite images you can see that among the general cloud, a particularly heavy area of cloud and rain developed over Sardinia and Corsica. This has since moved north over the sea to mainland Italy and is continuing north, with Monza on its list of travel destinations.

Switching to the radar, and the beginnings of the rain from that large area of cloud has appeared at the bottom of the radar. This is expected to move north.

The latest estimate is that rain will arrive shortly before the commencement of the third and final practice session.

Sat 08:07 The rainfall radar shows the solid progression of showers merging together as they move north.

The showers are now very close to Monza, and are due to arrive soon.

Join us shortly on the final practice and qualifying page for full coverage of Saturday's action at Monza.

Sat 16:30 Following on from the entertaining Formula One qualifying session, the rain continued for a time over Monza before slowly sliding away to the east, allowing the sun to break through and gradually dry out the circuit.

Scattered thundery showers remain in the forecast for later this evening, as they continue to sprout out of nothing right across northern Italy.

Overnight, the rain risk will begin to decrease slightly as clearer spells develop, with the minimum temperature falling to 11 degrees Celsius.

Sunday is very much a 50/50 forecast - even now. No one knows for sure what is going to happen because the areas of rain keep moving around. Add to that the thundery cells that have become a feature of the weekend, appearing out of nowhere, and you have an unpredictable mix. Showers are certainly possible, but by the same token we could have a largely dry race.

The computer model charts this evening are trying to introduce more in the way of showers across the region for tomorrow, but we shall wait and see.

Raceday will be a case of nowcasting from the radar and satellite images, rather than short-term forecasting. Early tomorrow morning we will take a look at the latest weather situation before the live raceday commentary begins at 08:00 GMT.

As always, we will issue an update if any freak storms or further rain develops in the meantime.

Sun 05:08 Overnight, a couple of light to moderate showers have fallen over the circuit, but nothing of huge significance.

The second of these left the area at around 05:30 local time. Therefore, the circuit is wet at the moment but beginning to dry out.

There is no immediate rain on the radar for Monza during the next hour, but like yesterday, a mass of cloud is growing to the south, as well as another shower incoming from the east, so the forecast remains uncertain for the race.

Sun 06:59 Earlier this morning we mentioned that cloud was building to the south, and also the east.

The latest news is that the weather is now starting to turn, with the centre of low pressure having moved towards Sardinia. The result of this is the weather is now being dragged gradually south-west, with any showers today coming from the north-east.

As you can see from the rainfall radar, further showers are packing into the top right corner of the map, and are heading in the general direction of Monza.

For the moment the circuit continues to dry out following the overnight showers, but it is a slow process in the cool morning air.

Any subsequent updates will come from our raceday coverage. Please join us from 08:00 GMT as we build towards this afternoon's Italian Grand Prix.

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Monday 08 Sep Start GMT
 Weather Forecasts and Reports 15:00
Friday 12 Sep
 Friday Practice 07:30
Saturday 13 Sep
 Final Practice and Qualifying 08:30
Sunday 14 Sep
 Raceday at Monza 08:00
  ABOUT
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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