ROANOKE, Va. – Much of the day Wednesday will be dry, windy and warm. It will actually feel like late April and early May out there! That warm wind, however, precedes a strong cold front to our west.
While the threat for damaging storms is higher farther to our south, this wind will aid in the development of a line of heavy rain.
That line of heavy rain, and perhaps some thunder and lightning, will move through late Wednesday night into early Thursday morning. We’ve broken down the ETA (estimated time of arrival) for you below in text and map form.
Parts of the New River Valley and Mountain Empire will see the heaviest rain arrive between 8 p.m. and midnight. Areas from Martinsville north to Roanoke, Botetourt County and the Highlands will see this arrive around/shortly after midnight. For areas like Lynchburg and Southside, the heaviest rain will begin in the very early morning hours Thursday. The worst is to our east by around sunrise Thursday.
Because this heavy line of rain is moving slowly, we expect at least an inch of rain to fall in most of the area.
This leads us to believe that localized flooding will be a concern overnight. This mainly pertains to creeks, streams and low-lying spots. An incident or two of flash flooding certainly cannot be ruled out in the New River Valley and Highlands, with minor river flooding not completely out of the question either.
Because of the amount of wind above us, it’s possible that we see a few downed trees area-wide. We do not expect this to be a widespread concern. The threat for hail or a tornado is higher to our south.
As this storm system wraps up, we’ll see some showers wrap around it from north to south Thursday afternoon and evening. Beyond that, things turn cooler.
In fact, with the jet stream far to our south, we expect Friday’s high temperatures to only get into the upper 50s and lower 60s. That’s about 10-15° below the average for early May!
As the jet stream rises back to the north, the warm air comes back in time for the weekend! Highs Saturday will reach into the 70s, with a few of us managing to get into the low 80s by Sunday.
More showers and storms will be possible late Sunday into Sunday night, before temperatures and rain chances level off a bit early next week.