UPDATES with MLB explanation of ticket procedure if game is rained out.
ST. LOUIS • Weather forecasters are warning Cards fans to take their rain gear and be prepared for a few rain delays tonight.
Showers and thunderstorms are likely throughout the evening. It will be mostly cloudy, with a low tonight in the mid 60s at gametime. Game 3 of the NLCS is set for a 7:05 p.m. start at Busch Stadium.
The National Weather Service says the chance of rain tonight is between 70 and 80 percent.
"You know how thunderstorms work," says Thomas Spriggs, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Weldon Spring. "They could be off and on, off and on. It will probably be a wait-and-see kind of thing."
At the ballpark downtown, the decision about rain delays or rainouts rests with Major League Baseball during the playoffs. Executives from the commissioner's office, including Joe Garagiola Jr. and Joe Torre, work with the grounds crew and may employ local meteorologists, as they have in the past.
"Our baseball operations department will be in touch with the clubs, the umpires and weather services throughout the day," said Mike Teevan, director of public relations for Major League Baseball.
If tonight's game is rained out, Major League Baseball decides how the make-up is handled. It said if Wednesday's game is rained out, the Game 3 tickets would be good for Thursday; Game 4 tickets would be Friday and Game 5 tickets would be Saturday.
Rain already has caused trouble for baseball this postseason. Rain in New York halted play in the second inning of the Yankees' playoff opener with the Tigers on Sept. 30, and the next day they had to pick up play where they'd left off. The threat of rain on Sunday led officials to postpone game 2 of the ALCS in Texas.
As of 7 a.m. Wednesday, Lambert-St. Louis International Airport had recorded 0.30 inches of rain since about midnight. By the end of the day, Spriggs estimates, the St. Louis area may well have about an inch of rainfall total.
"There's going to be a high chance of rain all day long," Spriggs says. "The atmosphere will be conducive to showers and thunderstorms at any given time."
The time for the best chance of rain is early Wednesday morning until about 10 a.m., Spriggs said. Then, there might be scattered showers, although forecasters expect to see a break in the rain until about sunset.
"Through most of the evening, the threat of rainfall will increase," Spriggs said.
The amount of rainfall across the St. Louis metro area could vary widely tonight, depending on the spot. For example, some areas of St. Charles County got drenched Tuesday night, getting more than two inches of rain in about an hour, Spriggs said. At about the same time, an area a few miles away saw a quarter-inch of rain.
Here is the forecast provided by the National Weather Service for the next few days:
Thursday: A slight chance of showers before 1 p.m. It will be mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 71 degrees.
Thursday night: Mostly clear, with a low of about 52 degrees.
Friday: Sunny and a high near 71 degrees.
Friday night: Mostly clear with a low of about 50.
Saturday: Sunny with a high near 70.
Saturday night: Mostly clear with a low of about 57.
Sunday: Mostly sunny with a high near 77.
Sunday night: Partly cloudy with a low of about 54.
Monday: Mostly sunny with a high near 70.
Monday night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy with a low of about 50.
Tuesday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny with a high near 62.