Watching for heat and reduced air quality to start the weekend

A hazy and hot Saturday is ahead of us with any afternoon storms staying mainly in the mountains

5 zone temperature forecast
5 zone temperature forecast (WSLS)

ROANOKE, Va. – The Saharan dust we’ve been telling you about all week will be arriving today. It’s expected to enhance the beauty of our sunrises and sunsets, so if you happen to catch a photo this weekend, send it our way!

The dust could also make for poor air quality for sensitive groups like people with respiratory and/or heart disease, the elderly and children. Keep that in mind if you have outdoor plans this weekend.

Today's air quality forecast
Today's air quality forecast (WSLS)

We also expecting the mercury to rise into this afternoon, thanks to a downsloping wind set-up. When we have a west or northwest wind in southwest Virginia, the air will come down the mountains, causing it to compress, dry and warm up. Expect highs to peak in the low 90s across Lynchburg and Southside, while Roanoke reaches the upper 80s.

Downsloping wind explainer
Downsloping wind explainer (WSLS)

Any storms that are able to form this afternoon and/or evening will be isolated and stay mainly in the mountains.

Storm chances are expected to increase Sunday as a batch of upper-level energy crosses our region. Some morning activity is possible, but the bulk of the rain should come during the afternoon and/or evening.

Future Tracker Sunday 3 p.m.
Future Tracker Sunday 3 p.m. (WSLS)

Conditions look favorable for some of those storms to strengthen. The highest risk for severe weather will be along and south of I-64. The Storm Prediction Center has placed our area under a level 2 (”slight”) risk of severe storms on Sunday, with the primary threat being damaging wind gusts. Hail will also be possible.

Sunday's severe risk
Sunday's severe risk (WSLS)

Daily storm chances are in our forecast as we flip the calendar from June to July this week. Look for temperatures to stay close to average marks for early summertime.

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