ROANOKE, Va. – Following a cold front that sparked a few showers Saturday, the wind is a force to be reckoned with this Groundhog Day. It will be a factor throughout the day and into the night as well, both in the fact that it will be strong at times and that it will help warm us up.
A west/northwest wind coming down the mountains compresses the air, which acts to warm it up and dry things out. Temperatures Sunday afternoon top out between 56 and 62°.
But wait...there’s more!
High pressure strengthens over the southeastern U.S. Monday, which helps to force warm air farther north. That, combined with more downsloping, will push us to near-record territory Monday afternoon.
This is more what you expect in late April and early May, let alone early February. With a storm system getting going over the central U.S. and Gulf states, however, we need to be on the alert later this week.
A warm front draped close by Wednesday will be the focus for some rain and will also determine how warm we get in the afternoon. We’re not worried about severe weather with this.
As the system rises from the Gulf, however, it will pull in a lot of moisture by Thursday. This will set off rounds of rain. As low pressure inches closer to the Southern Appalachians, it’s possible that we see a line of strong to severe thunderstorms form in the Mid-Atlantic states. Some of this will depend on how warm things get at the surface, but with this system so close by, the amount of wind energy and moisture will be something we need to watch closely late Thursday.
Once this passes, we will turn drier by Friday. However, most forecast data is hinting at 1-3″+ of rain between Tuesday and Thursday. We’ll monitor the flood threat this week as well.
By Friday, it’s back to reality. The wind picks up, but this time, will force some colder air back into the region.
Mountain snow showers will be possible early Friday and again late Saturday.