Rain map 3 days 031319

While some heavier rainfall totals are projected over the next 3 days to our west, Southwest Virginia generally expects 1/4 to 1/2 inch of rain from Friday morning showers, then may not see significant rain again for another week.

Many of you have been asking for a lengthy dry period after so much rain for months. Other than some showers on Friday morning, we may already be in a 10-day stretch of dry weather, having begun on Monday. 

Wednesday and Thursday will continue the dry trend, with highs in the 50s and 60s -- decent if not spectacular days to be outside, if you have that opportunity.

Though the low-pressure system in the Plains on this Wednesday is mighty, with near-record low barometric readings over Kansas, a blizzard west of it and severe storms and flooding potential to the east, it will take the bulk of its dynamics north-northeast across the western Great Lakes into Canada. It will drag a cold front through our region early Friday, with showers ahead of that front, maybe even a few rumbles of thunder.

However, with the low so far northwest of us, the moisture will be strung out, relatively narrow in width, fast-moving and passing through at the wrong time of day to maximize instability from daytime heating. So it's really doubtful we in Southwest Virginia see more than half an inch of rain from this, and quite plausible that many will see less than a quarter-inch. 

Once the front does clear on Friday, we'll get gusty westerly winds, some sunshine, and another of those kinda strange "warming behind the cold front" downslope-enhanced episodes when the temperatures make a run into the 60s. Generally, the front will return us to seasonable temperatures, 50s highs/20s-30s lows kind of stuff, for several days afterward.

And also, DRY. The weather pattern looks quite stable behind this front, dominated by high pressure for several days. I wouldn't rule out some light showers sneaking in somewhere with a weak disturbance or passing front, but large-scale soaking storm systems look very unlikely until we get just past next Wednesday's vernal equinox, the official start of spring on the calendar. 

Late next week, we may see a low-pressure trough dig deep to the South and a couple of jet streams interact for a possible storm system somewhere along the East Coast. There may actually be enough cold air involved to at least consider the possibility of snow being a part of this system, though of course it is so far out this rises barely above speculation at this point. But, in any event, that storm system may be the next significant chance of widespread precipitation in our region after Friday morning's showers, if it in fact develops similar to what is foreseen now and doesn't veer too far out to sea.

Last year of course gave us significant snow events on March 20-21 and March 24-25, following the one on March 12. Also in the March snow department, if you don't recall, today is the 26th anniversary of the 1993 Superstorm that dumped 1-3 feet of snow across our region, with much higher drifts, but I went in a different direction with Wednesday's Weather Journal column, focusing on the bizarre lack of snow that occurred a century ago.

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Contact Kevin Myatt at kevin.myatt@roanoke.com. Follow him on Twitter @kevinmyattwx.


Since 2003, Kevin Myatt has penned the weekly Weather Journal column, and since 2006, the Weather Journal blog, which becomes particularly busy with snow. Kevin has edited a book on hurricanes and has helped lead Virginia Tech students on storm chases.

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