Updates: As NASCAR Gets Underway, NH Faces Severe Weather Threats Until 10 p.m. Sunday

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National Weather Service in Gray, Maine map.

See multiple updates from the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine added to the top of the story. So please scroll down as well.

Above: Severe Thunderstorm Warning including Dover NH, Portsmouth NH and Somersworth NH until 7:15 PM EDT Sunday. Tornado possible.

National Weather Service at Gray, Maine Update at about 5:30 p.m. Sunday: Until 6 p.m Sunday – Tornado Warning including Goffstown NH, Francestown NH and Greenfield NH. Extended to 6:15 p.m. heading toward Manchester.


CONCORD – The state has activated its Office of Emergency Management in part because of impending severe weather but also had planned for it to be opened as the state is hosting a NASCAR race in Loudon.

At about 1 p.m., a tornado watch was issued for parts of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont until 8 PM EDT by the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

A Tornado Watch means current weather conditions could lead to a tornado, and you should be prepared to move to shelter. A warning means a tornado is occurring or about to happen, seek shelter immediately.

The start time for The USA Today 301, New England’s only NASCAR race of the year, has been moved up to 2:06 p.m. from the original 2:35 p.m. and its fans are not the only consideration the state has with many campers here, hikers and others who are not necessarily attuned to their phone alerts or warnings and may be near rivers and streams that could rise quickly.

Things could get ugly with “enhanced thunderstorm” possibilities from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. today (Sunday).

“Be careful being outside today and really so once it gets dark,” said meteorologist Nikki Becker who forecasts for New Hampshire at the National Weather Service office in Gray, Maine.

Update: The New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s weather site told fans at 4:32 p.m. Sunday that The USA TODAY 301 was red-flagged due to the weather. At 5:08 p.m. the speedway’s weather site told people there was severe weather in the area and to exit stadium seating, to seek shelter and “make necessary decisions for your own safety.”

Many of the people reportedly moved under the stadium seats.

An update at 6:46 p.m. said: “The USA Today 301 is now under caution and the cars have returned to the track. Drying efforts continue on the front stretch.”

At 6:57 p.m., the green flag waved as racing resumed in the USA Today 301.

Speaking at about noon, Becker said there will be some breaks in the clouds but don’t let that fool you because there is a 10 percent chance of a tornado anywhere from the North Country’s Errol to the south and a 30 percent probability statewide of winds 60 miles per hour and stronger.

Vanessa Palange, Community Outreach Coordinator of the New Hampshire Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said the activation was planned for the race and before the weather was known and the race had been moved up to start about a half hour early.

Palange said the state’s utility crews are ready for the possibility of outages and residents should be as well, taking precautions to move objects inside, charge devices and be well stocked.

Becker said her office has a team working with the State of New Hampshire in preparation with the race as a factor, but they were not working for New Hampshire International Speedway, which is a private company hosting the event.

Palange said two NWS officials were in Concord and providing the state with support.

While stormy weather had been in the forecast for a few days, Becker said things changed yesterday afternoon when meteorologists could look more clearly at the “ingredients” for a bad storm and the warning was moved to an “enhanced” thunder storm level, which is out of five levels about number three.

The storm will come from the West, South West and move and tilt a little and it is a warm front with pre-frontal and post-front impacts, meaning its worst at the beginning and near the end.

“It’s a complex weather system,” Becker said, “with the first wave having come last night and into this morning.”

Officials at the track were unavailable for comment. The race is 318.4 miles in length with the green flag expected to start the race at 2:06 p.m. rather than previously planned 2.35 p.m. It is being broadcast on the USA Network.

Whether the race ends early is not known, Palange said, but the state has traffic alteration plans for a high volume headed south after the race, just as many other vacationing people are leaving the state.

Campers should have a way to be aware of changing conditions and be prepared to evacuate to higher ground immediately if flooding occurs. Campers also should have a plan for alternative shelter if needed.

On June 19, the Department of Transportation issued the following information about traffic changes for NASCAR in Loudon for today:

Heavy traffic, temporary ramp and lane closures will impact motorists on NH Route 106, I-393 and I-93 throughout the day. 

Through the cooperative efforts of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, local officials, New Hampshire State Police and New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS), a comprehensive traffic control plan will once again be implemented on Sunday, June 23, 2024, for the over 42,000 spectators and 15,000 vehicles expected to attend the NASCAR Cup Series Race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH.  Please note the race starts at 2:30 pm, (that time was changed today) with the period of maximum traffic congestion expected to occur in the late afternoon and early evening hours. 

The traffic control measures planned for the Sunday, June 23, 2024 race impact NH Route 106, I?393, and I?93. The plan includes: 

I?93 Corridor 

  1. The I?393 eastbound off ramp to I?93 south will be closed from approximately 3:15 pm to 9:00 pm.  Motorists attempting to use the ramp will be diverted to Stickney Avenue from which they can access I?93 south at Exit 14. 
  2. The I?93 Exit 14 southbound off ramp to Loudon Road and the I?93 Exit 15E southbound off ramp to I?393 eastbound will be closed from approximately 3:15 pm to 9:00 pm.  Motorists will be directed to use Exit 15W to reach Exit 14 destinations and use Exit 16 to reach I?393 eastbound. 
  3. At the I?393 and I?93 interchange, the I?93 northbound off ramp to I?393 west (Exit 15W) will be closed from approximately 3:15 pm to 9:00 pm. 

NH 106 Corridor 

  1. On the morning of Sunday, June 23, 2024 (race day), NH Route 106 will include two northbound lanes and one southbound lane from just north of I-393 to the intersection with Beck Road.  A third northbound lane will be added from Beck Road northerly to the NHMS South Gate.  Left?turns from NH Route 106 will be prohibited at the following intersections:  Mudgett Hill Road, Voted Road, and Clough Hill Road. 
  2. Between 3:00 pm and approximately 8:30 pm, NH Route 106 northbound traffic will be detoured easterly on NH Route 129 to NH Route 107.  Clough Hill Road will be closed for non?local traffic.  Continuing northerly on NH Route 107, detoured traffic will have the option to use NH Route 140 westerly to rejoin NH Route 106 in Belmont or continue further north to NH Route 106 in Laconia. 
  3. Between 3:00 pm and approximately 8:30 pm, NH Route 106 will be configured with multiple southbound lanes.  NH Route 106 will have two southbound travel lanes from the NHMS North Gate to the NHMS South Gate.  Two additional southbound lanes will be added to receive exiting traffic from the NHMS South Gate.  The four southbound lanes will continue travel on NH Route 106 to the intersection with Beck Road where traffic will merge to three lanes.  The three southbound lanes will continue to just north of the NH Route 129 intersection and merge to two lanes.  From there, two lanes southbound will be provided on NH Route 106 south to I?393 in Concord.  A second northbound lane will be added from the NHMS South Gate to just south of the NHMS North Gate.  Access to NH Route 106 from the following roads will be restricted to right?turns only:  Soucook Lane, Brook Circle, Tote Road, Shaker Road, Beck Road, Mudgett Hill Road, Voted Road.  Clough Hill Road will be closed to all traffic. 

Road users are encouraged to sign up for free, real-time construction and traffic related messages (text or email) from https://newengland511.org/. 

http://www.nh.gov/dot/ | Follow us on Facebook | On Twitter  

Get real time traffic updates (via Twitter) from the NH TMC

Other suggestions from state officials:

• Have multiple ways to receive weather alerts. Monitor storm updates from the National 

Weather Service and local news stations. Sign up for NH Alerts and download the Genasys Protect mobile app to receive free emergency notifications.

• If flooding occurs, get to higher ground immediately. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 1 foot of water can sweep your vehicle away. 

• If driving in a vehicle, remember the saying, “turn around, don’t drown.”

• Prepare your home: Trim trees that may fall and cause damage.

• Tie down or bring indoors any objects that might be blown around by winds (outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans, and other loose objects that are normally left outside).

• Follow instructions from local emergency officials and know how to safely evacuate should you be told to do so.

• Find the latest road conditions at newengland511.org.

Learn more about staying informed, having a plan and making a kit as well as the actions to take for different severe weather events online at ReadyNH.gov.

Stay informed by following New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management on Facebook, X, formerly Twitter, (@NH_HSEM) and Instagram (@NH_HSEM).

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