Roanoke Times: Weather Journal

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Thursday 07/30/2015
Posted: July 30, 2015 - 12:30 am
A "dry front" will bring a change in the air for weekend

A cold front passing Thursday evening will be more of a "dry front" than a cold one, bringing much drier air into the region to turn the dial back on the muggy weather of recent days and shut down the daily rounds of scattered showers and storms. But before it pushes through, we have one more day of fairly hot, very humid and potentially stormy weather to get through on Thursday.

Wednesday 07/29/2015
Posted: July 29, 2015 - 12:30 am
Perhaps an escape from the "muggies" by the weekend

We'll continue to have a case of the "muggies" -- 80s to maybe low 90s highs with upper 60s-low 70s dew points, leading to scattered afternoon storms, some locally heavy -- through Thursday. But after that, there is significant hope that the weekend will give us a break from the muggies.

Monday 07/27/2015
Updated: July 28, 2015 - 9:30 am
Typical hot, humid summer weather through Thursday -- a few localized downpours

UPDATE 9:25 AM, 7/28: I only upgrade the Inclement Conditions Index when a number jumps 2 spots or more. I have just done that for heavy rain below -- increasing from 2 to 4 -- as the slow-moving nature of storms will lead to some localized areas of very heavy rain the next few days, as they did on Monday in part of Roanoke and then overnight in parts of Bedford County. Widespread heavy rain is not anticipated, but it may be torrential for a few minutes in isolated downpours. END UPDATE

Saturday 07/25/2015
Posted: July 25, 2015 - 1:00 am
Typical summerlike weather rebuilds; where is rest of summer going?

Heat and humidity will gradually build over the weekend and into the next week to a fairly typical late July pattern of mid 80s to low 90s highs (generally below 3,000 feet in elevation) with scattered afternoon showers and thunderstorms. We'll probably see a few more of those Sunday and Monday than on Saturday, when a weak cold front sliding in from the north and northeast may even come into play.

Thursday 07/23/2015
Posted: July 23, 2015 - 12:15 am
Warm (not hot) & fairly placid period through weekend

It looks like we're into a spell of fairly normal temperatures (if not a hint below) with only minor chances of showers or storms through the weekend. All of the Inclement Conditions Index numbers are 3 or below on a scale of 0 to 10, which generally means not much to worry about.

Wednesday 07/22/2015
Posted: July 22, 2015 - 12:30 am
Somewhat cooler, much drier air just in time for FloydFest

FloydFest has a history of some memorable and troublesome downpours. But this year, the five-day musical festival on a mountaintop near the Patrick-Floyd county line has a pretty good chance of getting through without any really heavy downpours. Cooler, drier air has filtered in to Southwest Virginia behind a cold front, and this will mean a cooler, drier Wednesday. Highs likely get no higher than the mid 80s in the Roanoke Valley, which means more like upper 70s-near 80 in the New River Valley and only the mid 70s up on FloydFest's ridgetop. Dew points will back off all the way into the 50s, which will feel super comfy in typically humid late July.

Monday 07/20/2015
Posted: July 20, 2015 - 12:30 am
Heat & storms for Monday/Tuesday, then a midweek break

More heat, more scattered thunderstorms Monday and Tuesday ... then a bit of a break from both at midweek.

Thursday 07/16/2015
Posted: July 16, 2015 - 12:30 am
Summer heat, humidity rebuild ... some storms possible by the weekend

Typical summertime weather is taking hold as we move into the weekend, with hot days, humidity and increasing showers and storms, mostly during the afternoon. Thursday will be one more day a touch cooler and drier before seeing more heat and humidity for the weekend.

Wednesday 07/15/2015
Posted: July 15, 2015 - 12:05 am
Enough of squall lines ... drier weather ahead

We've had four different rounds of storms in Southwest Virginia since Sunday night. A low-pressure trough and cold front finally move through on this Wednesday, and beyond maybe a few morning showers, drier and a touch cooler air moves in through Friday. Expect near-normal highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s with little or no chance of rain.

Tuesday 07/14/2015
Updated: July 14, 2015 - 5:43 pm
Repeat squall line likely this evening ... but then, no further encores

UPDATE 5:30 PM, 7/14: There will probably be a severe thunderstorm watch issued for Southwest Virginia by 7 p.m. -- be sure and check back at this link for the latest watches and warnings from the National Weather Service at Blacksburg. The regional radar above from a little earlier shows three different squall lines over the central and eastern U.S. The bow-echo squall line entering West Virginia is due in the New River/Roanoke valleys around 8-9 p.m. ... a bit earlier to the northwest, and later to the southeast. Similar to last night, pockets of severe-level wind gusts (58+ mph) can be expected within a larger outflow pattern of moderately gusty winds (35+ mph). With wet soils and fully leafed-out trees of summer, tree damage will be somewhat greater than in similar winter winds, and there will likely be more power outages. This looks to be the last storm cluster of this current series. END UPDATE

Monday 07/13/2015
Updated: July 14, 2015 - 6:01 am
Latest round of storms raining itself out; more storms possible late Tuesday

UPDATE 6 AM, 7/14: The remnant rain shield of the latest storm cluster is generally along and west of the Blue Ridge as the sun rises on this Tuesday morning, but it is gradually weakening and shrinking, though some heavier storms are pushing southward into northwest North Carolina. After this dissipates and/or moves south and east, we'll see some sunshine and have a rather hot day, mid 80s to low 90s for highs across much of the region. The next storm cluster is expected to form to our west and northwest during the afternoon and affect our region late this afternoon into the early evening. Severe storms will again be possible, though once again, the most likely region of severe weather will be to our west. A low-pressure trough and then a cold front will finally kick through to bring slightly cooler temperatures, drier air and an end to the cycle of storm clusters on Wednesday. END UPDATE

Updated: July 13, 2015 - 9:51 am
Rumbly Monday AM, but worst severe storm risk likely stays west of SW Virginia

UPDATE 9:30 AM, 7/13: Sunshine has come out and the overnight storms have largely dissipated in Southwest Virginia -- the radar estimates map at left shows where 1-3 inches was common in two northwest-to-southeast streaks where storms tended to train. (Keep in mind these are radar ESTIMATES, so it's possible your rain gauge got more or less than what is specifically depicted for your pixel on the map.) … About today's severe potential, the Storm Prediction Center has actually focused the core of the high-end storm potential more to the west, particularly Illinois. Outflow from this morning's storm complex near Chicago will interact with extremely unstable air (4,000+ CAPE possible -- 500-1,000 is often sufficient for severe storms) and uncommon mid-July deep-layer shear values (60 knots plus possible -- 35 knots is often sufficient for rotating storms) to trigger supercells and/or bowing line segments that could produce damaging winds exceeding 70 mph, large hail of golfball to baseball size, and perhaps 6-10 or so tornadoes, a few of which may be strong (EF-2 or stronger). This is expected to be focused WEST of the current storm complex, which will continue to move south and east and likely weaken some later this morning as it enters less unstable air. It is possible that by this evening or overnight, Southwest Virginia may get some portion of the existing storm complex, or perhaps a new storm complex formed from the outflow of the old one, but it is NOT expected to maintain consistent severe strength through the entirety of day like the June 29, 2012, derecho did -- but gusty winds are a possibility with any storms this afternoon, evening or overnight. Today's newly forming supercells/bowing line segments are expected to fuse into another storm complex or squall line that will likely track south-southeast to the west of our region, perhaps clipping the far southwest tip of Virginia. … In addition to the action to our west, it is possible that daytime heating, evaporation from overnight rain, terrain effects and leftover outflow boundaries from overnight storms will trigger a few storms in our region later today, any of which have potential to become strong to locally severe. END UPDATE

Sunday 07/12/2015
Updated: July 12, 2015 - 9:18 am
Will early week severe storm outbreak reach SW Virginia?

Sunday will be pretty similar to Saturday afternoon in Southwest Virginia -- sunshine, highs in the 80s, not terribly humid, but enough that you can't entirely rule out an isolated shower or storm popping up in the afternoon warmth. (A morning storm cluster may clip far Southwest Virginia.) There were a couple of stray showers on Saturday afternoon. By Sunday evening or very early Monday, a disturbance moving in from the northwest may raise the chance of showers and storms.

Friday 07/10/2015
Updated: July 11, 2015 - 11:00 am
Another slow dance with a stalled front -- but perhaps a Saturday break in showers

UPDATE 10:55 AM, 7/11: Somewhat drier air moving in behind the overnight system of showers and storms may mean a pretty dry day for much of Southwest Virginia, though we can't entirely rule out some scattered showers or storms with afternoon heating. A slow-moving frontal boundary will also be pushed south, leading to drier, perhaps slightly cooler northerly wind trajectories this afternoon. END UPDATE

Thursday 07/09/2015
Posted: July 09, 2015 - 12:30 am
Thursday may reach 90; continued hot, humid, occasionally showery/stormy into weekend

Pretty much the same general weather pattern continues: Warm to hot temperatures, but not extremely hot, with some chance of showers and storms each day and occasional periods of a bit more numerous storms through this Inclement Conditions Index period (Thursday through Monday) and likely beyond.

Wednesday 07/08/2015
Posted: July 08, 2015 - 1:02 am
Heat, humidity to linger; extreme heat doubtful

There's just not a ton of difference in the weather coming over the next several days. We will see warm to hot weather, highs in the 80s to some low 90s, and periods of showers and storms. Daytime heating, persistent humidity and terrain effects are enough to trigger some chance of storms each day through the weekend and beyond, but there will also be fronts, disturbances and outflow boundaries from storms to the northwest that will occasionally fire up a few more storms. Wednesday may be just such a day with a few more storms around than Tuesday as a system to the northwest draws closer.

Monday 07/06/2015
Updated: July 07, 2015 - 9:24 am
90 possible today in Roanoke as it gets a little hotter this week with some storms

UPDATED 9:15 AM, 7/7: Low 90s are possible on this Tuesday in the Roanoke Valley and points to the south and east. As is discussed below, high pressure is re-asserting control over the Southeast, which will lead to a resurgence of heat in the states south of us. We'll be on the edge of that, which means it will be getting a little hotter than it has been overall, but fronts from the northwest will play more of a role, bringing chance of showers and storms and edging off the heat a bit at times. The next front begins affecting us Wednesday. Any showers or storms that develop on this Tuesday will be of the isolated, pop-up variety, driven by heat and terrain effects -- normal summer stuff. END UPDATE

Sunday 07/05/2015
Posted: July 05, 2015 - 8:46 am
Showers, storms return with pesky pattern

The evening of July 4 was a great time to catch a break between rounds of showers and storms, but it wasn't the end of rain with this stubborn pattern. An upper-level low over Tennessee will slowly drift northeastward over the next couple of days, and that will spin thick moisture back into Southwest Virginia. Interacting with a slow-moving front wagging back and forth, plus some daytime heating and typical terrain effects, this will bring rounds of showers and storms to the region during the day and night on this Sunday. The chances of getting longer lasting and heavier rain will be better to the west of Roanoke, where a flash flood watch has been issued along and west of the I-77 corridor.

Saturday 07/04/2015
Updated: July 04, 2015 - 6:18 pm
Not hot as a firecracker on the Fourth -- evening looking good for fireworks

UPDATE 6:20 PM, 7/4/2015: Looks pretty good for the Roanoke and New River valleys this evening, as some drier air is working in from the west after a round of scattered showers. A few more showers will linger to the south, but even those should diminish with the setting sun. Enjoy your Fourth of July fireworks shows! END UPDATE

Thursday 07/02/2015
Posted: July 02, 2015 - 12:30 am
Look back at hot, humid June ... look ahead to warm, showery Fourth of July Weekend

A warm (but not quite hot), sticky and occasionally (not constantly) showery/stormy run to and through the Fourth of July weekend is ahead. The Inclement Conditions Index for the next 5 days is below.

Wednesday 07/01/2015
Updated: July 01, 2015 - 4:52 pm
Perhaps a dry break today, but more showers/storms to come rest of week

UPDATE 4:50 PM, 7/2: The murky skies you see today over Southwest Virginia are caused by two sources of particles intersecting over us: Canadian wildfire smoke and dust from the Sahara Desert of Africa. High pressure aloft over the Atlantic has helped guide rounds of Saharan dust westward over the past several days, while the northwest flow that has developed in recent days has brought in the Canadian smoke. END UPDATE

Monday 06/29/2015
Updated: June 30, 2015 - 6:41 am
3rd anniversary of derecho ... nothing close to that on tap, but increasing storms by midweek

UPDATE 11:15 PM, 6/29: Warmth, humidity and scattered daily storm chances will increase as we move toward midweek ... but again, nothing all that close to what we were experiencing this time 3 years ago is expected. There is a slight risk of severe storms in much of Virginia today.  Keep an eye on the National Weather Service at Blacksburg website for any watches or warnings through the day. END UPDATE

Saturday 06/27/2015
Posted: June 27, 2015 - 9:00 pm
Autumn-like breezy front bringing cooler, drier weather

The first sign that something is unusual in our weather is the wind advisory that has been posted generally along and west of the Blue Ridge for much of Sunday.  We get a lot of these in Southwest Virginia in fall, winter and spring, mostly when strong cold fronts roll over the mountains with much colder weather.  That's generally what is happening this time, too, but breezy cold fronts like this are pretty atypical for late June. Some wind gusts may top 40 mph, especially in higher elevations, and with so many leaves on the trees and wet ground in many areas, there may be a few trees blown down.  The hot, muggy, showery/stormy weather that has been with us for many days now is being pushed out in favor of a refreshingly dry and significantly cooler air mass. Highs in the 70s to low 80s will be on tap Sunday, with lows falling back into the 50s with maybe even some upper 40s in a few spots west of Roanoke come Monday morning. Perhaps even more importantly, dew points that reached as high as the mid 70s today will fall back about 25 degrees into the low 50s on Sunday. Even if sunshine does help it nudge above 80 in Roanoke on Sunday -- actually higher than the 79 it reached on Sunday with clouds and showers --  air that dry will feel much, much cooler than the muggy stuff we've had for a while.

Updated: June 27, 2015 - 9:39 am
Flash flood watch extended until 6 p.m.; additional storms possible

UPDATE 9:35 AM, 6/27: The flash flood watch has been extended through 6 p.m. with a couple of counties added, including Bedford, for the potential of locally heavy rain with additional storms later today as a low-pressure system and cold front push into thick moisture. This is a FLASH flood watch, which emphasizes relatively short bursts of heavy rain that can flood streams and roads quickly, as opposed to a general flood watch, which emphasizes a long period of widespread rain that can cause large rivers to flood -- so that means amounts of rain will likely vary quite a bit across the area with some spots getting much more than others. There is also a slight risk of severe storms later today, pending whatever daytime heating can occur. Lift and shear are quite strong for late June with the surface low that will track to our northwest. This may significantly raise the risk of supercell thunderstorms with a few tornadoes closer to the D.C. area, but line segments or storm clusters are more likely near us, with locally damaging winds possible, especially if there is any appreciable daytime heating. END UPDATE

Friday 06/26/2015
Posted: June 26, 2015 - 9:20 am
Recovery from AM rain will determine SW Va severe risk for PM

One batch of rain and storms has passed through Southwest Virginia this morning. How much the atmosphere can recover from the morning "overturning" -- cooler air aloft brought down to stabilize the atmosphere -- will determine how much of a severe storm risk we have later today, either from new storms developing or pre-existing storms moving in from the west. Sunshine is likely to return at some level by midday, and if so, temperatures will easily climb into the 80s with thick humidity, augmented by evaporation of morning rain. A series of disturbances moving along a nearly stalled front draped near our region should be sufficient, combined with the heat and humidity, to trigger additional storms this afternoon and evening, capable of locally heavy rain, some damaging winds and perhaps some large hail (1 inch in diameter or greater). Atmospheric shear (winds changing direction and/or speed with height) was sufficient on Thursday for some atypically impressive supercell thunderstorms in Southside and Central Virginia. Shear will be near the borderline for supercells (rotating thunderstorms) today as well, but multicell clusters are likely to be the more prevalent mode of thunderstorms.

Thursday 06/25/2015
Updated: June 26, 2015 - 7:25 am
Transition from heat to cooldown likely stormy

UPDATE 7:20 AM, 6/26: Waking up to the first of what could be several waves of storms and rain in Southwest Virginia. Morning arrival, at coolest part of day, dampens severe threat with first round. Will post new later this morning looking ahead to afternoon-evening threat of storms and heavy rain.END UPDATE

Wednesday 06/24/2015
Posted: June 24, 2015 - 7:11 am
Hot and mostly dry today ... change to cooler pattern on tap by weekend

A fairly weak cold front is pushing through our region this morning. That will usher in some drier air aloft which may quell thunderstorm activity today. Temperatures will only very slightly be affected -- a mostly sunny day will still send highs in the upper 80s and low 90s at most locations -- but the dry air aloft may put a lid on convection. You can't entirely rule out a few isolated showers or storms, however, when it is that hot with surface dew points in the 60s.

Tuesday 06/23/2015
Updated: June 23, 2015 - 9:24 pm
Not quite as hot as forecast ... evening storm risk dwindles for SW Virginia

UPDATE 9:20 PM: The severe thunderstorm watch has been lifted for the Roanoke/New River localities and northward that were affected. For the most part, storms moving southeast from West Virginia have dwindled crossing into Virginia, likely dried up by downslope westerly surface winds. A few small cells have popped up in late day heat and humidity farther east, including a couple that passed over parts of the Roanoke Valley. The bulk of severe weather this evening has occurred in stronger instability and shear from the D.C. area northward. ... So in short, a hot day, but not as hot as it could have been, with a few evening showers and storms, but not as severe as it could have been. Heat, humidity and chances of storms linger through the rest of the week, until cooler weather arrives for the weekend, likely staying several days. END UPDATE

Monday 06/22/2015
Posted: June 22, 2015 - 12:30 am
More heat, more humidity, more storms

Pretty much, more of what we've seen. Perhaps a bit hotter and a little less stormy Monday and Tuesday with growing high pressure ... then a little more stormy and less hot on Wednesday and Thursday with a stalling front ... but subtle day-to-day changes can shake this up, as we've already seen at times. Just be prepared for heat, humidity and occasional storms through Thursday. Maybe some pull-back from the heat, at least, beyond this period of the Inclement Conditions Index.

Sunday 06/21/2015
Updated: June 21, 2015 - 6:30 pm
Happy Father's Day! Summerlike heat (and storms) return

UPDATE 6:25 PM, 6/21: I took a few hours off from weather and the Internet for Father's Day, but a quick glance at radar around 5 p.m. revealed severe storms moving through the Roanoke and New River valleys, so I found an elevated viewing point in southern Roanoke County to get the photo above. There were several reports of hail -- mostly small, but some near 1 inch in diameter -- and gusty winds as these storms blew through. With heat and humidity plus variable atmospheric triggers day to day, storms can quickly develop any afternoon this coming week, with locally strong to severe storms possible. END UPDATE

Saturday 06/20/2015
Updated: June 20, 2015 - 8:58 pm
Severe thunderstorm, flash flood watches cancelled as risks shift east, north

UPDATE 9 PM: The flash flood watch has now also been lifted for the counties along and west of I-81 in Southwest Virginia. Most of the remaining rain with Bill's remnants is going north of our region, while the severe storms have occurred to our east. The closest wind damage I'm aware of is in Pittsylvania County. Bill has been long-lasting storm that has been a problem for many people from Texas to Maryland, but it's a bit of a bust here. END UPDATE

Friday 06/19/2015
Updated: June 19, 2015 - 3:48 pm
Tropical Storm Bill's remnants to make SW Va weekend showery/stormy

FLASH FLOOD WATCH issued Saturday PM/Sunday AM for Roanoke and I-81 corridor north and west

Thursday 06/18/2015
Updated: June 18, 2015 - 6:14 pm
Sticky continuously, stormy intermittently through weekend

UPDATE 6:10 PM, 6/19: Wind gust of 67 mph recorded at Roanoke airport with downburst from thunderstorm after 5 p.m., near the time I shot this photo looking in the general direction of the airport from The Roanoke Times roof. That is a severe level wind gust (58 mph is lower limit) even though the storm did not carry a severe warning at the time. The cycle of daytime heating, thick humidity and localized strong to severe afternoon storms will continue through the weekend. END UPDATE

Wednesday 06/17/2015
Updated: June 17, 2015 - 9:51 pm
Sticky weather getting stuck ... a little stormy too

UPDATE 9:45 PM, 6/17: Severe storms blew through the Roanoke area late this afternoon and early evening with some wind damage and power outages, especially in the Vinton area.  I was out much of the day in eastern West Virgnia, but actually saw some interesting storm structure on the early stages of the cells that would ultimately affect the Roanoke area. We may have more rounds of storms in the days to come as heat and humidity linger and interact with disturbances moving through. (Indeed there are some storms pushing through the New River Valley as I type this). More on that in the next blog post on Thursday morning. END UPDATE

Tuesday 06/16/2015
Updated: June 16, 2015 - 5:21 pm
Possible heat-fueled/heat-interrupting storms for Roanoke/New River valleys?

UPDATE 5:20 PM: High of 93 for Roanoke and 88 for Blacksburg today -- a degree higher than Monday, not records at either site. A few storms are moving through the New River Valley toward the Roanoke Valley and Blue Ridge, but any severe weather threat looks to be slight and localized. Generally for the rest of the week, expect more showers and storms each afternoon than we've seen to start the week. END UPDATE

Monday 06/15/2015
Updated: June 15, 2015 - 7:40 pm
Monday's heat to be repeated on Tuesday

UPDATE 7:40 PM, 6/15: Roanoke's high hit 92 and Blacksburg's hit 87 on Monday, a little short of daily record highs but 7-8 degrees above normal for mid-June. Expect similar highs on Tuesday, perhaps a degree or two warmer, on Tuesday. Roanoke's June 16 record of 96 from 1957 is probably a little out of range, but Blacksburg's 88 from 1994 may be in jeopardy. END UPDATE

Tuesday 06/09/2015
Posted: June 09, 2015 - 10:15 am
Back from the storm chase as summer takes hold in Southwest Virginia

The 2015 Hokie Storm Chasers' second trip arrived in Blacksburg on Monday evening ... just in time for an amazing shelf cloud (at left) to overtake us ahead of a bowing squall line segment. It was an appropriate ending for our trip, as we spent the last four nights of the trip running from bowing squall lines (we prefer to stay out of these while driving vehicles).

Saturday 05/30/2015
Updated: June 01, 2015 - 5:51 am
Gone chasin' ... back in mid-June

Starting Monday (6/1), I'll be out helping lead this year's second group of Hokie Storm Chasers in seeking supercell thunderstorms -- and whatever tornadoes they produce -- in the central U.S. That means I'll be taking about two weeks away from the Weather Journal blog -- mostly.

Thursday 05/28/2015
Updated: May 29, 2015 - 8:16 am
More of same stickiness through weekend; storm chasers catch a Texas tornado

UPDATE 8:15 AM, 5/29: Only one small change to below, the potential for somewhat cooler weather (70s highs, maybe some 60s) with a wedge of cooler air working in from northeast Sunday and/or Monday. In the meantime, highs have a decent chance of reaching 90 for the first time in 2015 on Saturday in the Roanoke area, with perhaps a little less in the way of afternoon storms (though not zero). ... Check out Trevor White's blog for a couple of very good pics from Hokie Storm Chasers' Wednesday tornado intercept in the Texas Panhandle. The first group arrives back in Blacksburg today with a new group headed west Monday.  END UPDATE

Tuesday 05/26/2015
Posted: May 26, 2015 - 12:30 am
Stickiness, showers and storms return this week -- with 90s possible by weekend

It was just about as flawless a Memorial Day weekend weatherwise as it could be in Southwest Virginia.

Friday 05/22/2015
Updated: May 24, 2015 - 8:28 pm
Superb Memorial Day weekend ahead, but summer heat looms for next week

UPDATE 8:30 PM: Memorial Day (thanks to all who have served!) still looks warm in the upper 70s to mid 80s across Southwest Virginia, with a little bit more humidity than the weekend. Hotter, stickier weather is on the way for later in the week. I'll take a look at that in my next Inclement Conditions Index, which I will post on Tuesday morning, a day later than normal due to the holiday. In the meantime, check out the blogs of Virginia Tech student storm chasers Jordan Pegram (first-timer) and Trevor White (3rd-time returnee as grad student). They've had some pretty good success after a major automotive breakdown in one of the vans. END UPDATE

Thursday 05/21/2015
Posted: May 21, 2015 - 12:30 am
Light rain on Thurs AM and a couple of interesting storm chasing links

Thursday will begin with some light rain across the region as an upper-level storm system quickly moves across from the northwest. As the National Weather Service in Blacksburg notes, this is more like a winter-type rain system, not the muggy summerlike sporadic storms we've seen in recent days, so it will mostly be light (a quarter-inch or less), with no thunder, and cool temperatures hanging on for a while. It may not get above 60 in some locations until after midday, when the rain will move out and the sun may start breaking through.

Wednesday 05/20/2015
Posted: May 20, 2015 - 12:30 am
Stickiness gone for a while

You probably felt something different in the air on Tuesday, and that will be even more obvious on Wednesday, as much drier air behind a cold front has pushed out the mugginess of the weekend. Dew points, which have been in the 60s to low 70s, may be as low as the 30s for some by Wednesday afternoon, certainly in the 40s. Temperatures will also be cooler on Wednesday, 70s highs for most, maybe barely scraping 80 in the Roanoke Valley and Southside. Even that is considerably cooler from back-to-back highs of 82 in Blacksburg Monday and Tuesday and 87-86 those two days at Roanoke.

Tuesday 05/19/2015
Posted: May 19, 2015 - 8:30 am
Cold front brings drier air, but not immediately cooler

Sometimes it's amazing how repetitive the weather can be on the same days in consecutive weeks. Roanoke's temperature has hit 88 with muggy conditions on consecutive Mondays. And now Tuesday looks to be very similar to last Tuesday, as a cold front passes through that at first won't be a "cold" front. Instead it will serve two purposes today: (1) bringing in drier air to quell the humidity of recent days and (2) producing westerly winds that will actually heat up as they blow down the Appalachian slopes this afternoon. So we may see a bit of heat surge today, but less humid, with highs similar to Mondays -- and I wouldn't even rule out a degree or two higher in some spots, possibly near 90. Showers and thunderstorms will not be as numerous as recent days, but a few may pop up along the front in the afternoon heating especially east and southeast of Roanoke.

Monday 05/18/2015
Posted: May 18, 2015 - 12:30 am
More sticky, showery weather for SW Virginia as Hokie Storm Chasers head to stormy Plains

May has already been an active severe period in the Plains states, the latest coming Friday/Saturday with 47 tornado reports.   The first of two groups of Virginia Tech storm chasers -- primarily meteorology students -- begin heading to the Plains on Monday for 10-12 days or so in the field forecasting and observing severe storms. A second group heads out June 1 -- I'll be with that one, but until then, I'll post some interesting things the first group catches on its journeys. (It's usually easier for me to post from the trip I'm not on rather than the one I am on, as most of my day is consumed driving and forecasting on the trips I am a part of.) You can also check out the Hokie Storm Chasers blog, Hokie Storm Chasers Facebook page and @hokiestorm on Twitter, all linked here, for updates during the trip. (Pictured above, an up-close-and-personal look at a supercell in southeastern New Mexico last May.)

Thursday 05/14/2015
Updated: May 16, 2015 - 12:42 am
Warmth, humidity & scattered showers/storms continue through weekend

UPDATE 12:25 AM, 5/16: There isn't much to add or change about the weekend weather. It will be warm and increasingly sticky with a chance of afternoon showers and storms -- similar to those that occurred on Friday afternoon. Overall, not a washout this weekend, but do have an umbrella or a place to go inside in mind if you're out and about. Another "cold" front moves through early in the coming week with a temporarily raised chance of showers and storms, then a slight cool-off.  END UPDATE


After some summerlike weather early in the week, we've had a little taste of fall in May the last couple of days, with cool breezes and low humidity. But the pattern continues to look more summerlike for us, and the warmth and accompanying humidity will gradually build back over the next few days, along with some showers and storms.




Thursday, 5/14/2015 to TMonday, 5/18/2015

 (Scale of 0 to 10 based on both likelihood and intensity of weather events. 0 indicates no chance of even a minor event. 10 indicates a high-impact event is nearly certain.)


Extreme temperatures: 4 

Tuesday 05/12/2015
Updated: May 13, 2015 - 9:44 am
Heat backs off a couple of days, only to return in force

UPDATE 9:45 AM, 5/13: Expect some genuinely cool temperatures -- 40s lows -- for Thursday morning and a couple of days with highs in the 60s and 70s, near or even a tad below mid-May normals. But it won't last long. END UPDATE

Monday 05/11/2015
Posted: May 11, 2015 - 1:00 am
A few early week storms as "cold" front pulls us back from 80s to 70s for midweek highs


Saturday 05/09/2015
Updated: May 10, 2015 - 8:25 am
Three-ring circus of severe, winter and tropical weather for U.S. leaves SW Virginia warm and (mostly) dry

UPDATE 8:15 AM, 5/10: Tropical Storm Ana has come ashore near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, still spinning bands of squally rain, but weakening. On Saturday, there ended up being 50 reports of tornadoes in the central U.S., most in open terrain, but at least one fatality in Texas. More severe storms are expected today, a bit farther east. And blizzard conditions are blasting western South Dakota this morning.  So the three-ring circus has happened, and continues in many locations. For Southwest Virginia, daytime warmth combined with perhaps a little extra moisture edging westward from Ana may trigger a few scattered afternoon showers and storms, but for the most part it will be another sunny, warm day for Mother's Day, once the morning low clouds with the inland marine air burn off. END UPDATE

Thursday 05/07/2015
Posted: May 07, 2015 - 10:30 pm
Subtropical Storm Ana forms off Carolinas ... but SW Va weather looks pretty nice for mom

What we've talked about as a possibility this week has happened: Subtropical Storm Ana has formed off the southeast U.S. coast, according to the National Hurricane Center. This would signify a storm with at least 39 mph sustained winds that has a closed circulation and a mixture of tropical and non-tropical characteristics, and the Atlantic hurricane season's first named storm 24 days before the season technically begins. Tropical storm watches are from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to Cape Lookout, N.C. -- including Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Wilmington -- for potential wind gusts of up to 50 mph and, possibly, a ton of rain. Ana was pulling in quite a bit of dry air on Thursday, but new squalls may develop around the circulation center as it spins over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream.

Kevin Myatt
  • Kevin Myatt
  • Kevin Myatt is The Roanoke Times' principal weather geek. He writes the Weather Journal column each Wednesday in The Roanoke Times and advises the newsroom on weather topics while also working on the copy desk. He helps lead Virginia Tech students on storm chases each May, has edited a book on hurricanes ("Hurricanes and the Middle Atlantic States," by Rick Schwartz) and talks about weather each Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. on WVTF (FM-89.1).
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