Hokie storm chasers ride into active pattern this week

Virginia Tech meteorology students head toward the Plains

By Chris Michaels - Meteorologist

Photo Courtesy: Alex Thornton - Virginia Tech meteorology alumnus

ROANOKE, Va. - As they do every year, Virginia Tech meteorology students will head to the Plains, under the direction of Dave Carroll, to chase severe storms. 

This is not a thrill-seeking adventure, but rather a field course for students to study the dynamics in the atmosphere leading up to a tornado.

Carroll has made note in past conversation that the team stays a safe distance away from the storms, which can be done more easily in the Plains. The flat land allows you to see storms miles away, whereas here in southwest Virginia, we don't have that "luxury."

Last year, the Hokie Storm Chasers made an early trip back home. The pattern just wasn't conducive for severe weather in the Plains at this point in 2018. Now, however, is a different story. 

They're heading west just as the pattern is acting up.

The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted sections of the Plains for severe weather this weekend and into early next week, giving the team plenty of opportunities to learn about severe weather. 

This is all thanks to a couple of strong low pressure systems developing near the Rockies. Those storm systems deepen just east of the Rockies, pulling in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. This will set off a series of severe thunderstorms between Friday and next Tuesday. 

Meanwhile at home, high pressure is in firm control of our weather. This means that outside of a renegade shower or two each day, we're looking hot this weekend into early next week. 

High temperatures for us soar into the 80s to perhaps near 90 in a few of our more prone warm spots. The overall threat for severe weather here in Virginia is low.

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