It was a cooler-than-normal weekend throughout Southwest Virginia, with Friday especially chilly compared to mid-September norms. Below are some facts about Friday’s temperatures at the two major reporting stations locally, at Roanoke Regional Airport and the National Weather Service office at Blacksburg.
* Roanoke’s high of 59 Friday was the earliest sub-60 high in the latter half of a calendar year in 97 years – it only made it to 57 on Sept. 12, 1914.
* Roanoke’s high of 59 was the coolest high on record for Sept. 16, breaking the previous record of 61 set in 1996. Roanoke’s weather records date to 1912.
* Blacksburg’s high of 54 on Friday shattered its previous Sept. 16 record for coolest high temperature by 5 degrees — 59, set in 1976. Blacksburg’s records date to 1952.
* Roanoke’s high temperature Friday was 19 degrees below normal, while Blacksburg’s was 21 degrees below normal — comparable to the normal highs for mid-November rather than 2 months earlier.
* The lows on Friday were 46 in Roanoke — 12 degrees below normal, 4 degrees above a daily record — and 40 in Blacksburg — 11 degrees below normal, 5 above the daily record. Some temperatures in the 30s were reported in outlying areas.
* Blacksburg’s high of high of 58 on Saturday also set a daily record for coolest high temperature, beating out the previous Sept. 17 record of 60 set in 2000.
Looking into the week ahead — warmth and moisture slowly build early in the week, with perhaps some low 80s from Roanoke south and east by Tuesday. A slow-moving cold front and some waves of low pressure moving northeast along the front are likely to trigger some widespread showers by Thursday. The inset map at left shows projected precipitation probabilities for Thursday by the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center
, in the 80 percent range throughout much of the central and southern Appalachians as moisture banks ahead of the front and along the higher terrain. Right now it doesn’t appear likely to be a major flooding event, with amounts around an inch expected across much of the region
, but that could go up if the front slows or stalls or there is more intense moisture inflow. (And, of course, lesser amounts if the front is faster or there is weaker moisture inflow.) Cooler weather will again follow this front next weekend, though maybe not quite as cool as Friday was