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2019’s top weather stories in Southwest, Central Virginia

2019 had everything from snow and ice to tornadoes, heat waves and a flash drought.

ROANOKE, Va. – 2018 could really be described using one word; wet. In 2019, however, we had many different types of adverse weather.

JANUARY 12-13 SNOW, SLEET, ICE

We started it all in January, with a system that dropped inches of snow on areas near I-64. It also dropped a mix of sleet and freezing rain in parts of Roanoke, Lynchburg and Southside.

Virginia State Police responded to more than 60 crashes.

APRIL 19TH TORNADO

On the morning of April 19, an EF-3 tornado sped through rural Franklin County, destroying one home in Sydnorsville. At that point in the year, it was one of the strongest tornadoes to touch down in the US. That would eventually change, as stronger ones would touch down later in the spring in the Plains.

PROLONGED 90° HEAT

Months later, the 90s would return with a vengeance. Parts of our area saw more than two months’ worth of 90° heat. That even extended into early October. Roanoke almost hit 100° on October 2nd.

FLASH DROUGHT

That led to a flash drought, with parts of the area under a severe drought for the first time in over a decade. This was thankfully resolved, as we saw multiple soaking rains in the course of two weeks. That would’ve flooded us, had it happened a year earlier.

FLIRTING WITH HISTORY

At the end of it all, the Roanoke Valley came within 0.05° of history. 2019 wound up being the second-warmest year on record in the Roanoke Valley.


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