NBC briefly lost signal during Indy 500 pre-race coverage because of severe weather

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Severe weather on Sunday caused a brief outage on NBC during its Indianapolis 500 broadcast ahead of the start of the race.

Powerful storms and tornadoes have wreaked havoc across the United States during the Memorial Day weekend, in some cases turning deadly. The storms have also disrupted the famed motor race, causing delays, evacuations and the satellite outage.

“During pre-race coverage, severe weather impacted our signal and temporarily interrupted our feed,” an NBC Sports spokesperson told CNN in a statement. “We immediately went to a commercial break and had service restored for viewers when we came back.”

Meteorologists noted the disruption on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Rain so heavy it took out the NBC satellite uplink from the Indy 500. Severe storm over the track right now,” wrote Kevin Lighty, meteorologist for WCIA, a CBS affiliate in central Illinois. WCNC Charlotte’s chief meteorologist also clocked the incident and pointed it out on X.

NBC’s pre-race coverage began in the morning, while the race itself was pushed back because of the inclement weather. Coverage resumed well before the start of the race.

The Indy 500 was at first scheduled to begin at 12:45 p.m. ET, but organizers delayed the start time to 4:44 p.m. ET. Organizers also paused pre-race festivities and evacuated fans from the grandstands because of the storm.

“Thank you to those fans who waited out the rain with us. We hope to see racing action soon and track drying is underway,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which hosts the event, said Sunday afternoon on X.

The changes to the schedule also impacted the way the race can be viewed on television.

Typically, the Indy 500 is not broadcast in central Indiana due to a television blackout, which is designed to encourage residents to buy tickets and watch the event in person. But the Indianapolis Motor Speedway said Sunday that the blackout was lifted because of the upheaval.

“For those unable to be at the Speedway in person due to today’s schedule changes, NBC affiliate WTHR will televise the race live in Central Indiana, with the local blackout lifted due to the storm,” the Indianapolis Motor Speedway said on X.

CNN’s Sam Joseph contributed to this report.

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