Weather! Chilly, wet weather ahead

For the rest of Wednesday, expect the clouds to stick around today, moderating temperatures somewhat compared to the last few days.

Tomas is still a tropical storm, and is still struggling along in the Caribbean Sea. A hurricane watch has been posted for Jamaica, but there still remains a fair bit of disagreement about exactly what the storm will do over the next few days. The National Hurricane Center is still forecasting the storm to reach hurricane strength over the next few days, as it begins to turn northward and approach Jamaica, eastern Cuba, and western Haiti.

UPDATE: As of 5 am this morning, Tomas has been downgraded to a tropical depression. The storm is still forecast to regain strength and reach hurricane status again in the next 48 hours before passing east of Jamaica and making landfall in Haiti.

As we progress further into fall, the summer pattern of high pressure after high pressure is slowly being replaced by mid-latitude cyclones – areas of low pressure strong enough to pull cold, Canadian air masses south across the Plains, over the Appalachians and along the East Coast. Last week’s storm over the Great Likes was one of these systems. The frequency of coastal low pressure systems developing along the Atlantic seaboard – otherwise known as Nor’easters – also increases. It is the latter of these which will be our focus for later this week.

Believe it or not, an area of high pressure is still located off to the northeast. However, a strong jet stream has overlaid most of the region with thick, low- and medium-level clouds. It feels a lot like winter today, at least to me.

For the rest of Wednesday, expect the clouds to stick around today, moderating temperatures somewhat compared to the last few days. Highs today will only reach the mid 50s, before dropping into the mid 40s overnight. A low will begin developing off the VA/NC coast through today into tonight and tomorrow, and the chances for rain will begin in earnest late tonight into early tomorrow morning.

Thursday can only be described by one word: wet. The exact rainfall totals will be determined by the track of the low, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see anywhere between 0.5” to 1” of rain for the Richmond metro region, with the higher amounts likely along and east of I-95. Temperatures will be slightly cooler with the additional moisture but still somewhat moderated by the low, with the total temperature swing for the day only about ten degrees. Highs will make it into the low 50s before retreating to the low 40s overnight.

HokieCast (vs. Georgia Tech, 7:30pm): I’m going to use some words in this particular forecast that I’m not used to using in the first week of November. This is going to be a great football game, and I doubt the weather is going to cooperate much at all. Kickoff temperatures will be in the mid 40s, cooling only slightly by the fourth quarter. There may still be some light rain/drizzle around as the game starts. What’s interesting, in my opinion, will be Friday morning, when it’s possible that Blacksburg could see a light dusting of snow from the backside of this system as it tracks north. It’s really early in the season and the ground will still be quite warm, so I wouldn’t expect much in the way of snow; probably a dusting on cars and grassy areas if anything. But yes, I said it: snow.

Cold air is going to get wrapped around on the backside of this low, and make for quite a chilly weekend across the state. I’ll have a forecast ready on Friday.

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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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