ROANOKE, Va. – Punxsutawney Phil apparently didn’t see his shadow Sunday morning, which according to legend means we’ll get an early spring. It’s fitting, since we’ll get an early taste of spring Monday afternoon.
High pressure to our south helps usher in some warmer air out of the southwest, leaving things feeling more like late April and early May instead of early February. This kind of unseasonable warmth, however, may come with a price tag.
As high pressure moves offshore, more moisture will come in by Tuesday. A front to our west may trigger a few passing showers, with the better chance Tuesday being near and to the west of the Parkway (New River Valley, Roanoke Valley and Highlands).
Come Wednesday, a warm front from the north inches closer to our region. This, too, will act as a lifting mechanism. What I mean by that is that the air gets lifted to a point of saturation, forming clouds and rain drops. Long story short, we expect more showers to pass through on Wednesday because of our proximity to that front.
As that lifts north, a very potent low pressure system rides up the spine of the Appalachians. This brings in some Gulf moisture, which will likely set off some periods of moderate to heavy rain Thursday into Thursday night. Whenever these systems are close by, you have to watch the turning of the wind. This could lead to a few strong to severe storms.
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma has outlined an area near and south of I-40 for severe weather potential, as they’ll likely be warmer than us. That would set off more storms. However, it’s close enough that we’ll have to monitor that potential as well.
Once this system passes, it’s back to reality for us. Colder air rides in on a gusty wind, with the chance for mountain snow showers Friday and perhaps again late Saturday.
We’ll settle into a more seasonable temperature pattern through the second week of January. The storm track around 2/12 and 2/13 will have to be watched, with that marginally cold air around. Otherwise, there’s no immediate chance for significant wintry weather.