Weather! Funky start to the week ahead

Monday’s weather is looking a little bizarre: rain in the morning? Highs only in the 80s? In a word – it’s funky.

Welcome to the start of another week…specifically, national Lightning Safety Awareness Week!

To date, five people have died this year due to lightning strikes. While fatalities due to lightning have dropped significantly over the last 70 years (no one year has seen more than 100 lightning fatalities since 1974), on average more than 50 people die every year due to lightning.

In general, if you are able to either see lightning striking the ground or hear thunder, you are close enough to be hit by lightning. Stop what you’re doing, and seek shelter in a sturdy, enclosed structure or enclosed vehicle. Convertible automobiles, open-air buildings like picnic shelters and baseball dugouts, tents and sheds, and trees, do not provide adequate shelter from lightning. Stay inside until 30 minutes after any hazardous weather has passed to ensure you are safe. Once inside, make sure you stay away from doors and windows, and avoid using electrical devices, corded telephones, or your plumbing system until the threat has passed, as all of these items can transmit electricity. NOAA has provided additional lightning safety information for you and your family (PDF) and a lightning fact sheet (PDF) for those with more questions. As afternoon thunderstorms become more common during the summer months and more Richmonders flock to the outdoors for various activities, take a few minutes and review this info; it just may save your life.

Some heavy rain blew through overnight, and clouds will continue to linger this morning as an area of low pressure moves offshore. Rain chances will continue through Monday morning, and may be heavy at times. Your morning commute may be a bit rough, and especially heavy downpours could lead to some ponding of water or minor flooding on roadways. The clouds will break up some as the low moves out to sea this afternoon, and temperatures will climb into the low 80s. Clearing continues overnight as our friend the Bermuda high sets up over the Atlantic; overnight lows will drop into the mid 60s.

We fall back into a more summer-like pattern on Tuesday, just in time for the summer solstice at 1:16pm Eastern Daylight Time. Astronomical summer begins with very summer-like weather, as flow around the Bermuda high brings hot, humid air back into the region. High temperatures will peak in the low 90s, and the combination of heat and humidity may be enough to trigger some afternoon popup thunderstorms. Once the sun goes down, temperatures drop and the thunderstorm risk diminishes. Overnight lows will fall into the low 70s.

We’ll see Tuesday’s conditions repeat through midweek, with temperatures in the 90s leading to an afternoon thunderstorm threat. I’ll be back with my next update on Wednesday.

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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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