It's the epitome of spring: the perfectly manicured grass, chirping birds and brightly colored blooms from the myriad azaleas. The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, normally means the cold and dreary winter is behind us.
But the forecast for this year's tournament, which begins Thursday, has a taste of every season in store.
A calm start
Everything should be clear, though cold, for the ceremonial first tee shots at 8:15 a.m. Temperatures will be around 42 F (5 C) but winds near 10 mph will make it feel like it is in the 30s.
Winds will lessen in the morning and temperatures will warm up into the mid-60s F (17-20 C), which could give an advantage to those with later tee times on Thursday, allowing them to play in calmer winds and more comfortable conditions.
The average high for the Masters is 75 F (24 C), and the average low is 48 F (9 C), so Thursday will be nearly 10 degrees below average.
Friday will be the best day of the tournament, weather-wise. Mostly sunny skies will allow temperatures to climb into the upper 70s F (23-26 C), with light winds in the morning and just a bit brisker winds, nearing 10 mph, in the afternoon.
Clouds will be increasing later, as a storm system moving across the central portion of the United States marches south and eastward.
Saturday will be the worst weather day for the 2018 Masters.
An approaching cold front will bring considerable cloudiness to Augusta on Saturday morning and rain is expected to begin before noon. Tee times start later over the weekend because the field has been cut down after the first two rounds, so even the first players out won't tee off until after 10 a.m. This will mean everyone will have to deal with rain, which could become strong enough to halt play.
Lightning does not look likely with Saturday's showers, but it cannot be ruled out and is something tournament officials will certainly be keeping an eye on.
The rain could linger through the end of the daylight hours, which might mean some of the field will not finish their Saturday rounds until Sunday morning.
Total rainfall should be around a half an inch -- a rainy day for sure, but certainly not among the wettest days the Masters has seen.
Forty-five years ago to the day, April 7, 1973, had 2.67 inches of rain on the wettest day in tournament history.
Rainfall is a normal occurrence for the event, with about 80% of the years having at least a trace of rain during the four-day tournament.
On five occasions the tournament has had to finish on Monday because of bad weather earlier in the tournament.
This year's Masters should be able to finish on Sunday, however, because the rain will have moved out and clear and cool conditions will prevail throughout the day.
A morning low in the low 40s F (4-6˚C) and wind chill in the 30s will once again make for a chilly start, but temperatures should rebound into the low 60s by the afternoon.
Scoring conditions should be near ideal. With the course softened by Saturday's rain and with mostly light winds, players should be able to post some low scores in their final rounds.
It looks like the weather will do its part in making for a spectacular championship Sunday.