Track hoping torrential forecast rain stays away on Oaks Friday
A severe weather warning has been issued for localised, torrential rain in London and much of the south-east on Friday afternoon, leaving officials at Epsom hopeful it skirts the course.
The ground is described as good but up to 30mm of rain could fall in an hour in a brew featuring thunder, lightning and hail. The warning is from 1pm, an hour before Friday’s opening race, until 11pm. The Investec Oaks is at 4.30.
A Met Office spokesman said: "Very warm, humid air coming up from France brings the threat of thunderstorms, which have the potential to give 25-30mm of rain an hour. Most places will miss the worst but it could lead to localised surface water flooding. There could be frequent lightning and hail."
Andrew Cooper, Epsom clerk of the course, was on Thursday hoping that the rain would stay east of them on a humid day when the temperature is forecast to reach 24C.
He said: “We’ve seen the warning and there is not much we can do about it. It could be right, it could be wrong. We can only watch.
"We put 2.5mm of water on the course this morning. We started the day with good ground and I'm inclined to leave it that way. It's got up to 25C today and the track is in great condition. We won't be watering tonight."