Weather! Heat, the tropics, and football, oh my!

The tropics are going to make next week a tad damp, so make sure you get out and enjoy this blast of summertime weather as we begin meteorological fall.

Thursday marked the end of summer and the beginning of fall, at least in the meteorological sense. While the autumnal equinox doesn’t happen until September 23rd, September 1 typically marks the beginning of a pretty distinct pattern change. Some people have observed to me that things are even beginning to feel a bit “fall-like.” Our temperatures the last few days have been near the climatological average for this time of year, but even I have felt a bit of a chill in the air.

Summer, however, is not going to let go quite so easily.

A ridge of high pressure has established itself across the southeastern United States, and should remain in place through the weekend. However, our biggest concern right now is the two-headed tropical monster of Tropical Depression Thirteen and Hurricane Katia.

Katia is still well in the Atlantic, almost 750 miles from the Lesser Antilles. It is not an immediate threat to anything save for shipping traffic in the central Atlantic. As Katia begins to track westward into next week and the forecast track begins to take shape, the system may become more of a concern, but for right now, its not a concern for Virginia.

Tropical Depression Thirteen is a much more immediate concern across the Gulf Coast and eventually, the southeastern US.

As you can see, Thirteen is forecast to be a slow mover. With easy access to Gulf moisture, this is going to be a system that will dump barrels and barrels of rain across the Gulf Coast. Current guidance from the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center places a bullseye of almost 17” of rain across southeastern Louisiana. While the storm is not an immediate threat to Virginia, it will come into play next week.

(I’d really like to make a House, MD reference here with regards to Thirteen, but as I’ve not watched the show in at least two seasons, I leave that challenge up to you.)

As for the remainder of Friday, the aforementioned ridge of high pressure is our primary weathermaker in the meantime. Satellite imagery shows some clouds moving across the region in association with a weak upper level disturbance; any precipitation is falling west of the city and is clearing out to the south. Partly cloudy skies will remain today, however, and we’ll get a wonderfully muggy night with lows in the mid 60s.

More of the same is on tap for Saturday, with another weak disturbance bringing a small chance of afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Highs tomorrow will climb to near 90 under partly cloudy skies.

Football plans? Here’s a kickoff forecast for the big three:

Virginia Tech (home vs. Appalachian State, 12:30): Kickoff temperature in the low 80s, afternoon high near 90. Slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm.
Virginia (home vs. William and Mary, 6:00pm): Temps in the low 80s at kickoff, with chances for showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening. Humid, with temps dropping into the upper 70s through the game.
Richmond (at Duke, 7:00pm): Mostly dry, with a light shower/thunderstorm chance, especially closer to kickoff. Temperatures in the low 80s at kickoff, dropping to near 75.

Saturday night will be another humid night, with lows in the lower 70s.

Sunday marks the end of the nice weather, as a cold front moving in from the west begins to erode the ridge of high pressure across the region. Highs Sunday will peak on the warm side of 90 under partly cloudy skies, and we’ve got the chance for an afternoon shower or thunderstorm yet again. Clouds will increase through the night, and we get one more sticky night with lows in the lower 70s.

Thirteen will interact with the cold front as it tracks eastward, and precipitation will begin to spread out along the front. Portions of the southern Appalachians are looking at as much as 10” of rain by Tuesday, and this rain will move into our area starting on Monday. Plan on a dreary start to the week, with periods of heavy rain on Monday and Tuesday.

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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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