As a line of heavy rain and frequent lightning reached Pimlico Race Course just minutes before post time for the Preakness Stakes, Baltimore emergency management officials ordered the infield and grandstands evacuated.
Downpours hit the track about 6 p.m., just 20 minutes or so ahead of the day's top race. The Mayor's Office of Emergency Management told infield spectators to seek shelter and for those seated in the grandstands to move inside.
A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for southern Carroll County and most of Howard County until 6:30 p.m. The storm was capable of producing winds of 60 mph or greater, the weather service warned.
Another severe storm warning was issued along the Potomac River in Montgomery County, and a special marine warning was issued north of the Bay Bridge in the Chesapeake warning of winds of 40 mph or greater on the water.
A hot, humid pattern more common for June or July set in overnight, with the clockwise circulation of a high-pressure system just off the East Coast pumping warm, moist air in from the south. Dew points were in the lower 60s Saturday morning with temperatures expected to rise into the mid-80s by the afternoon.
The pattern is forecast to continue through Sunday, with more storms and showers Sunday afternoon.