Forecasting for the Family Circle Cup

By Sonya

DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Family Circle Cup has begun and unfortunately on a bit of a soggy note.

The one wild card in the tournament every year is the weather -- it's the one thing that affects the players and the spectators alike during the nine-day event.

The largest women's only event in professional tennis will bring approximately 90,000 people to the Family Circle Tennis Center on Daniel Island and all those people need to what to expect weather-wise.

Conditions can vary this time of year, so here are some of the extremes since 2001 using climate data from the Charleston Airport.

The warmest tournament by mean temperature was 75.7 degrees in 2002. The following year, 2003, was the coolest at 58.6 degrees, and it was also the wettest with 2.74 inches of rain.

Average daily highs are in the lower to middle 70s while average lows are in the lower 50s. Average daily precipitation is around one-tenth of an inch, but that doesn't mean it will rain every day. There was a record maximum daily rainfall set on April 2, 2009, of 3.57 inches.

While event organizers hope for rain-free conditions, the clay courts are made to handle some rain.

"The clay just absorbs the water and then it seeps off to the sides but it all depends on the amount of rain...a slight rain or even a little bit of rain these courts will come back quickly a heavy downpour that will knock us out for a little bit," said Bob Moran, General Manager of the Family Circle Tennis Center.

Right now it looks like rain shouldn't disrupt the tournament too much. After the rain moves out Saturday night, there isn't a chance of rain in the forecast until Friday. But any amount of rain has the potential to affect the matches.

Here is the rain policy off the Family Circle Cup website:

"If a session of the tournament is postponed due to weather or for other reasons beyond our control, the tournament committee will make every effort to accommodate the ticket holder at a subsequent session based upon availability. However, there will be no refunds, rain checks or exchanges issued. A session will be considered complete if one match in that session is completed. Please note: You must retain your original ticket stub in the case of a postponement in order to re-enter the postponed session. Information on scheduling changes can be obtained by calling the tournament hotline, (843) 849-5000, or visiting our website."

But the good news is that it looks to be sunny and warm for most of the tournament with highs in the 70s and possibly even lower 80s. So don't forget the sunglasses, hat, and sunscreen on those days! And the bug spray is always a good idea here in the Lowcountry too!

The event this year is from March 29 to April 6.