Spectators and players at the Masters could face the challenge of bad weather during the early rounds of the famous golf tournament in Augusta. There is a threat of thunderstorms from late Thursday into Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service in Columbia.
It's possible the storms will be severe with damaging winds and hail.
“A cold front will move through the area, and the latest information we have is that the best chance for thunderstorms will be Thursday night,” said Jeff Linton, a National Weather Service meteorologist. “We're looking at models and this is not an exact science, so the front could get in here a little bit earlier.”
Thursday's forecast for the Master's first round calls for mostly cloudy skies, a 40 percent chance of rain and winds of 10 to 20 miles an hour from the south. Temperatures will climb into the mid-80s.
The possibility of precipitation will increase to 70 percent Thursday night.
“It is very warm and moist ahead of the cold front, and in the upper part of the atmosphere it's cold; the winds aloft are very strong,” Linton said. “When you get thunderstorms in an environment like that, some of those strong winds in the upper part of the atmosphere may mix down to the surface. Tornadoes aren't out of the question, but right now it looks like the main threats are damaging straight-line winds and hail.”
Friday's forecast for The Masters' second round is for partly cloudy skies, a 30 percent chance of rain, and winds of 20-25 miles from the southwest to west. Temperatures will reach the lower 80s.
“The cold front may be out of the area by 8 a.m.,” Linton said.
An entire round at The Masters hasn't been completely lost to rain since 1983, according to bleacherreport.com.
When there is inclement weather, a weather warning sign that shows clouds and a lightning bolt is displayed on the scoreboards/message boards at Augusta National Golf Club. The club advises spectators to take precautions even before play is suspended. The sounding of an air horn or a similar alert will signal suspension of play.
For The Masters' final two rounds Saturday and Sunday, skies will be partly cloudy. Highs will be in the mid-70s on Saturday and in the low 80s on Sunday. There is a zero chance of precipitation for Saturday and a 20 percent chance on Sunday, according to the Weather Channel.