The rain is soon to pass on this Thanksgiving-prepping Wednesday, and this day will end up mild (60s) with quite a bit of sunshine. But gusty winds will stir during the afternoon behind a cold front and continue through the overnight into early Thursday.
The National Weather Service in Blacksburg has posted a high wind warning for all of the region along and west of the Blue Ridge, effective from noon Wednesday to 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. This warning was expanded from just localities along the Blue Ridge to all of the mountainous region of our area shortly after 9 a.m. The passage of a cold front during the day will bring occasional wind gusts topping 50 mph, possibly over 60 mph at times, mainly in higher elevations. The winds are being propelled by a strong low-pressure system moving over the Great Lakes region. Farther east, a wind advisory is in effect for winds that may gust near 60 mph at times.
Sporadic power outages are likely to develop and some trees could be downed, especially in the higher elevations that receive the bulk of the highest wind.
Hopefully, this won't disrupt too many Thanksgiving dinners. Many of you who have lived in your location for years know whether or not your spot is particularly susceptible to power outages behind frontal passages in late fall to early spring, as we normally have about 3 to 6 similar episodes each cold season. Be prepared.
Our region is still getting off light from a powerful storm system spreading a much broader field of gusty winds over the Midwest and dumping heavy snow on the western Great Lakes.
Another strong storm system will follow on its heels over the weekend, with likely more rain than we are seeing this morning, followed by another bout of gusty winds. There will be some potential for mixed precipitation on the front end of the rain -- especially higher elevations and locations north of Roanoke --and early next week will bring windy cold laced with mountain snow showers.
Friday should be a pleasant day for the start of Christmas shopping and a certain football game of some interest in Charlottesville, with some sunshine, light winds, and highs in the 50s,
One more thing: I am collecting some accounts of the Dec. 18-19 2009, snowstorm for a 10-year anniversary column next month. I noted that in today's Roanoke Times along with a column about how snow totals look differently if counted by the calendar year rather than the winter. If you have an interesting story to tell that you don't mind me using in this column, please email me at email@example.com.