Weather! Sun, clouds for Mother’s Day

This fabulous spring weekend will only be tainted by a few clouds for the rest of your Saturday and Mother’s Day. Rain – and lots of it – come back in the picture by Monday.

The atmosphere is a complex place, and there are instances where what you expect to happen with a certain feature isn’t what you actually get.

For instance, if I were to tell you that high pressure is sitting right on top of central Virginia today, you’d probably expect a day very similar to yesterday – warm, with lots of sun and very few clouds. In fact, that’s almost exactly what we had yesterday.

Saturday: Today’s a little different. Remember that winds flow clockwise around high pressure centers, which means that as you travel further south, into the Carolinas and Georgia, winds are coming from the east, carrying moist, Atlantic air across the Gulf Stream and into the southeast. There, the air is colliding with northerly winds carrying lots of moisture-rich air from the Gulf of Mexico in advance of a low pressure system located over the Arkansas-Louisiana-Texas border (the Arklatex, for those in the know). When air moving in two different horizontal directions collides, it’s only got one way to go – up. So it rises, cools, the moisture condenses out, and we get clouds and rain. Higher in the atmosphere, winds from the southwest are carrying a lot of these clouds out well ahead of the low, giving us the scattered high clouds we’re seeing today.

The upside is that despite the clouds, we’re going to make it into the upper 70s this afternoon. Temperatures slide back to 55 tonight as clouds begin to increase.

Saturday Squirrelcast (6:35pm, vs. Bowie): Despite the high clouds, a great night for baseball with no threat of anything other than some additional high clouds. Look for temperatures in the mid 70s at first pitch, and in the low 60s by the ninth inning.

Mother’s Day: Clouds increase some as the low moves into the Tennessee Valley and the high moves out of Virginia and out to sea. Showers will begin to stretch into the western mountains in the afternoon and evening hours, but Mother’s Day will stay warm and dry for everyone in central Virginia. Don’t worry about canceling any outdoor plans; temperatures will again make it into the upper 70s in the afternoon. Overcast skies will help keep things a bit warmer overnight, with lows in the low 60s.

Sunday Squirrelcast (2:05pm, vs. Bowie): The Squirrels wrap up the Bowie homestand Sunday afternoon. Look for temperatures above 75 through the game with a mixture of sun and clouds.

Monday: Rain will move into most of central Virginia by noon Monday, increasing in intensity through the afternoon. Most of the area will see around an inch of rain, possibly more in some places. While highs make it back to near 75, they will be slow to cool, only dipping into the mid 60s overnight.

The rain will continue into Tuesday, finally clearing out Tuesday night. Much nicer weather should move back in for the rest of the week, with partly to mostly sunny conditions and highs between 75 and 80 through Friday.

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’m going to be heading back out to the Great Plains with the Hokie Storm Chasers beginning Tuesday morning. Look for dispatches from me while we’re on the road over the next two weeks. I’ll be back for Memorial Day weekend. Until then, enjoy the weather.

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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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