COEUR d'ALENE - For the second straight year, Ironman Coeur d'Alene swimmers will face chilly conditions Sunday morning.
The water temperature of Lake Coeur d'Alene was sitting at 54.5 degrees Tuesday afternoon. While the forecast is for temperatures in the 70s and perhaps the 80s Wednesday and Thursday, it's expected to rain and turn cooler Friday and Saturday.
Climatologist Cliff Harris said the lake could warm up a little before race day, but will likely be around 55, maybe 56 degrees Sunday morning.
Winds of 15-20 mph are in the forecast for Saturday, but Harris said they should be down to 7-10 mph by Sunday morning. The temperature outside for the 7 a.m. start of the 2.4-mile swim should be in the upper 40s. There's a 10-20 percent chance of showers in the morning, but it should be warmer in the afternoon, with highs in the 70s.
Ironman Coeur d'Alene Race Director Mac Cavasar said they have added an extra warming station for swimmers to use before venturing out on the 112-mile bike ride.
There will be plenty of folks on kayaks, boats, paddle boats and jet skies to look after the swimmers, he said.
Cool water conditions are another challenge faced by Ironman Coeur d'Alene participants, he said.
"We're planning for the worst and hoping for the best," Cavasar said.
For the 2011 Ironman Coeur d'Alene, the water temperature was at 55 degrees.