Stay cool! Heat wave lasts through at least Sunday in Southwest, Central Virginia

High temperatures outside of the mountains reach 95-100° during the weekend

Heat intensifies a bit Wednesday afternoon

ROANOKE, Va. – This summer has been one of the hottest on record in the Roanoke Valley and Lynchburg area. A heat wave late this week into the weekend will move it up the ranks in weather history.

Temperatures Wednesday reach the mid to upper 80s in the mountains and low to mid 90s in the Roanoke Valley, Lynchburg area and Southside.

High temperature forecast for Wednesday, 7/20/2022

A few stray storms will be possible in the mountains.

Otherwise, the slightly better chance for storms comes late at night into Thursday morning along and west of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Chance for storms arrives in the mountains late Wednesday night into Thursday morning

The front that produces those storms will be east of the Parkway Thursday afternoon, sparking a few stronger thunderstorms mainly in Southside after 2 p.m.

Chance for storms Thursday afternoon is highest in Southside

Regardless of that, it will be a breezy day with gusts of 20 mph or higher coming down the mountains.

Wind speed and wind gust forecast for Thursday, 7/21/2022

This leads to what’s called downsloping and ‘compressional heating,’ and will result in similar high temperatures to what we expect Wednesday.

High temperature forecast for Thursday, 7/21/2022

That’s just the appetizer to the main course that arrives this weekend.

High pressure strengthens over the southern half of the U.S. Sinking air associated with high pressure leads to more of that ‘compressional heating’ we just mentioned.

Upper level air pattern through the weekend of 7/23 and 7/24/2022

Therefore, we’re looking at temperatures within about 1-3° of record highs this coming weekend.

Records to beat for the weekend of 7/23 and 7/24/2022

That places the mountains in the 88-94° range and areas like the Roanoke Valley, Lynchburg area and Southside at about 95-100°.

The humidity won’t be extremely high, but that’s still some high heat we’ll be dealing with. You’ll need to find a lake, river, pool, sprinkler, etc. to keep cool.

To keep up to speed on the forecast, make sure you check in frequently with our weather app.

About the Author:

Meteorologist Chris Michaels is an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcaster, forecasting weather conditions in southwest Virginia on WSLS 10 News from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays on Virginia Today.