Weather! Relief only a day away

How do you spell relief? W-E-A-T-H-E-R.

Richmond broke a record yesterday, but it’s not the one you think. Here’s the full report from the National Weather Service:

RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WAKEFIELD, VA
0135 AM EDT WED JUL 13 2011

…ALL TIME RECORD HIGH MINIMUM TEMPERATURE SET AT RICHMOND VA…

THE MINIMUM TEMPERATURE AT RICHMOND ON TUESDAY JULY 12TH WAS 81 DEGREES. THIS BREAKS THE RECORD HIGH MINIMUM TEMPERATURE OF 76 DEGREES SET IN 1993. MORE SIGNIFICANTLY…THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IN RECORDED HISTORY THAT RICHMOND HAS HAD A MINIMUM TEMPERATURE OF 80 DEGREES OR HIGHER.

PRIOR TO TUESDAY…THERE HAVE BEEN 9 OCCURRENCES WHERE THE MINIMUM TEMPERATURE WAS 79 DEGREES AT RICHMOND. IN A FEW CASES…THE MORNING MINIMUM WAS AT OR ABOVE 80 DEGREES…ONLY TO DROP BELOW 80 DEGREES PRIOR TO MIDNIGHT (1AM EDT) THE FOLLOWING EVENING. OFFICIAL DAILY RECORDS ARE RECORDED FROM 1AM EDT TO 1AM EDT (MIDNIGHT TO MIDNIGHT EST). DAILY RECORD KEEPING AT RICHMOND BEGAN IN 1897.

That’s one whopper of a record. There were several times last year when it looked like the record would be in jeopardy, especially when we went through our several 100+ heat waves, but the temperature never stayed above 79 during the period. Something interesting did happen last night, however, and I’m wondering if it had a part to play in setting this record.

Between the hours of 10 and 11pm last night, the temperature spiked briefly – at 10pm, it was 87, and it had jumped to 89 by 11pm. I’m not sure what happened, but I’m wondering if this may have kept conditions warm long enough to set the record. That being said, it didn’t actually fall below 80 until 4am, so this may be a moot point. Regardless, I’m curious about the cause of the temperature spike. Thanks to Jim Duncan for pointing this out on Twitter last night.

We’ve got one more day of heat today, but thankfully Wednesday will have a little bit of relief compared to yesterday. It’s still quite warm (92 at 11am), but some incoming cloudiness from an advancing cold front will keep temperatures away from near-record levels. Today’s record high, for what it’s worth, is 101 degrees. There’s no way we’re going to get that warm today, especially with the incoming clouds. This cold front advancing towards the region is going to pass through later today. In fact, we’re already getting some rain in advance of the system here in Blacksburg. This system will continue to sweep eastward today, bringing increasing cloudiness this afternoon, along with rain showers or thunderstorms. Lows tonight will get down to the upper 60s behind the front.

High pressure moves back in on Thursday, and we get to enjoy cooler temperatures and significantly lower humidity. What’s that? Cooler temperatures? Dare I say – seasonable weather for the weekend? It’s not a hoax! Temperatures will struggle to get out of the 80s tomorrow (and that’s not a bad thing AT ALL). Overnight lows will fall back into the mid 60s, while conditions stay mostly clear all day and night long.

High pressure sticks around for the weekend, and Richmond gets great weather as a result. High temperatures will say in mid to upper 80s all weekend, under partly or mostly cloudy skies. I’ll have a complete weekend forecast 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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