Today’s post-frontal winds have knocked down trees and power lines across the region, but will be settling down in the next few hours. Temperatures have been falling rapidly from midday highs in the 60s to late-afternoon readings in the 30s and 40s as the colder air behind the front takes hold. The front will return us to near normal readings with lows in the upper 20s and low 30s and highs in the 50s Saturday, rising back into the 60s on Sunday.
Rainfall amounts of 0.75 to 2 inches were common across Southwest Virginia on Thursday and early Friday, with a few amounts just below or above those figures. Roanoke received a total of 1.01 inch, officially, which raises the seasonal total (since Dec. 1) to 4.21 inches; Blacksburg got 1.24 inch, raising the winter total to 5.22 inches. In each case, that makes the winter the third driest on record, with additional rainfall expected late Sunday and Monday having the potential to pass other years on the list. For instance, if Roanoke or Blacksburg were to get .75 with the next storm system, the winter would fall all the way to eighth driest on their respective historical lists, Roanoke’s dating to 1912 and Blacksburg’s to 1952.
At this point it appears the next low will be of similar strength and take a similar path, though more to the northwest than the system that just passed. That farther distance will probably mean less total rainfall late Sunday into Monday than just occurred, but additional warmth moving northward east of the low will increase the chance of thunderstorms in our region. Another potent severe weather outbreak is likely in central U.S., with heavy snow in parts of the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. A springlike pattern is very much in place.