The National Weather Service has cancelled a tornado watch that had effected much of Maryland including the Baltimore area and threatened some scheduled events ahead of Preakness on Friday.
“Tornado Watch is cancelled as threat of severe storms is waning rapidly,” the weather service tweeted after 3 p.m.
The watch, which had been placed until 7 p.m., called for storms that could bring high winds, hail and possibly tornados to Baltimore City and Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard, Frederick and Cecil counties, as well as Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties in Western Maryland
Friday’s forecast calls for mostly cloudy and humid weather with 80 degree temperatures but feels like 90 degrees, according to AccuWeather, and it’s going to get hotter this weekend.
This year’s Preakness promises to be the hottest in recent memory. With a forecasted high temperature of 94 degrees, this year’s race day is expected to be blistering, and race organizers are busy readying ways to beat the heat — for humans and horses alike.
The tornado watch had also put an alert on several scheduled events ahead of the 147th Preakness Stakes, including the Preakness Live Culinary Art & Music Festival, a concert and interactive cultural experience, and the 98th Black-Eyed Susan Day, which celebrates women and racing.
“Inclement weather is closely and actively monitored in real time using a sophisticated weather tracking system operating out of the Preakness command center,” said Rob D’Amico, chief security officer for 1/ST.
He noted that current data show it’s not necessary to use The Maryland Jockey Club’s inclement weather safety plan, which was developed by the City of Baltimore’s Office of Emergency Management in collaboration with representatives from the Maryland Jockey Club, in the event of an inclement weather emergency.
If needed, an announcement will be made via the facility wide sound system in the infield and from the main stage, D’Amico said. Notifications will also be made across all TVs and screens with the appropriate shelter in place protocols. Backstretch personnel and horses will remain in the stables and will follow their own horse safety protocols.
Baltimore Sun reporters Micha Green and Christine Condon contributed to this article.