Weather! Comfortable weather this weekend – and some announcements

Despite the intrusion of some showers and thunderstorms into the forecast through this weekend, we’re looking at what is going to otherwise be some great spring weather. Also, I’ve got some information about April’s severe weather, and details about an exciting upcoming event!

Apologies for the brief one-day hiatus, but I’m back and I have a couple housekeeping items to tackle before we get to the weather.

First, it’s exam time here in Blacksburg and I’ve got more going on than I know what to deal with, so I’m going to be stepping away from the forecasts ever so briefly while I get my semester wrapped up. After this post, forecasts won’t resume until next Wednesday.

Second, I won’t be forecasting again after next Friday for almost two weeks, because I’m going to be out on the Great Plains storm chasing with the Virginia Tech Hokie Storm Chasers. Fear not, because I’ll be covering our trip here over the course of our 10-day trip. Look for updates from me beginning after our departure on May 15. Our current planned return date is May 25, which may or may not change, as we’re all slaves to the weather in the prime chase territory. We won’t have a really good idea about our targets until we get closer to departure time, when we’ll be doing forecasting and trying to figure out which direction to aim our vans.

Speaking of tornadoes, Virginia’s National Weather Service offices are still sorting through the data from the historic tornado outbreak of April 27-28. Currently, National Weather Service storm survey teams have confirmed 15* tornadoes across the state, resulting in five fatalities. Each of the affected National Weather Service offices has produced a report detailing the damage within their county warning area: Blacksburg, VA; Morristown, TN; Sterling, VA; Wakefield, VA.

For those of you with friends and/or family in northeast Tennessee or far southwest Virginia, the NWS office in Morristown, Tennessee is now on Facebook.

*The Virginia Department of Emergency Management reports that 16 tornadoes have been reported in Virginia for this event. However, one tornado, the EF-3 that touched down in Washington County near Glade Spring, continued into Smyth County, producing EF-2 damage near the town of Chilhowie. This tornado crossed the boundary between two adjoining National Weather Service offices (Morristown, TN and Blacksburg, VA) and each office performed a storm survey for the affected portions of their county warning area. Reports from both offices indicate that the tornado did not lift and produced one continuous damage path between the two counties.

The relative hostility and tumult of April has given way to a very peaceful May so far, and that trend is poised to continue through this weekend. Temperatures today are on their way to Thursday’s high of 70, as high pressure over the eastern half of the country brings us mostly clear skies across the state today. Clear skies also means cool nighttime temperatures, allowing tonight’s low to reach into the mid 40s.

The high pressure system moves out to sea tonight and tomorrow morning, and a weak area of low pressure moves in behind it, increasing clouds tomorrow and bringing with it the chance for some thunderstorms, especially in the afternoon hours. The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted most of Virginia for a thunderstorm risk tomorrow, but has stopped short of talking about any severe weather threats. Temperatures will still get into the mid 70s during the day, under partly to mostly cloudy skies. Chances for showers and thunderstorms will be greatest in the afternoon and early evening hours, diminishing after dark. Low temperatures will drop just below 50 overnight.

Squirrelcast (vs. Altoona, 7:05pm): The Squirrels are back for a weekend set, and while the weather looks a little iffy for Friday night, I wouldn’t let that keep you away from the ballpark. We’re still looking at first-pitch temperatures near 70, dropping into the upper 50s by the ninth inning. I can’t rule out the chance for a passing shower or thunderstorm, though.

High pressure comes back on Saturday as our disturbance moves out to sea, bringing back sunshine and clear skies. Highs climb back into the mid 70s, dropping into the mid 50s overnight. Plan on some clouds building in later in the day as our next low pressure system approaches the region, but I don’t think we’ll see anything in the way of precipitation.

Squirrelcast (vs. Altoona, 6:35pm): Partly cloudy skies will be the only black mark on an otherwise perfect night for baseball. Look for temperatures still in the low 70s at game time, ending up in the mid 60s by the time they record that final out. Otherwise, it will be a great night for baseball!

Another low swings through the area on Sunday, bringing the chances for rain and thunderstorms back into the picture. Despite this, the weather will still fall squarely in the “comfortable” category, with partly cloudy to mostly cloudy skies and temperatures back in the mid 70s. Overnight lows will once again drop into the mid 50s. Expect increased shower and thunderstorm chances later in the afternoon, to be fueled by daytime heating. As the sun goes down, so do most of the thunderstorm and precipitation threats.

Squirrelcast (vs. Altoona, 2:05pm): Another day of partly to mostly cloudy skies and mild temperatures. Temperatures will remain in the low to mid 70s for the entire game, with chances for an interrupting shower or thunderstorm all afternoon long.

As I mentioned before, I’m off until next Wednesday, but it looks like we’ve got some more precipitation chances in the early parts of next week. Enjoy your weekend!

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Weather Dan

Dan Goff is now a two-time former Richmonder, having departed the River City yet again in favor of southwest Virginia, where he is working on degrees in geography and meteorology at Virginia Tech. Have a question about the weather or weather-related phenomena?

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