UPDATE 6:30 AM, 5/23: More showers and storms on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday; time to enter summer prediction contest
UPDATE 6:30 AM, 5/23: Not much reason to renew this post entirely, as Wednesday and Thursday are likely to be very similar to Monday and Tuesday, with scattered showers and storms developing as the day heats up. This will be the case until an upper-level low over the Carolinas finally moves northeast away from us late in the week. The good news for anyone with Memorial Day weekend plans is that it looks to be much drier overall — maybe a slight chance of some scattered afternoon showers and storms — and definitely hotter, with some low 90s quite possible. END UPDATE
It’s following me home! After reaching Blacksburg and working for a while to strip the equipment off three vehicles we used in the first round of the Virginia Tech storm chase, storms began to develop over the Blacksburg/Christiansburg area and followed me toward Roanoke through Shawsville and Elliston (I too the U.S. 11 route so I could pull off a few times, observe and photograph more easily). The photo at left was from between those two towns — here’s a bigger version. Storms with heavy rain, frequent lightning, some gusty winds and small hail occurred across parts of Southwest Virginia this afternoon and evening, and will slowly dwindle overnight. The thick moisture, however, will linger, and the approach of a cold front (the same front that fired storms we chased in Nebraska on Saturday — I’ll have more details on that at some point as we prepare for the second trip next week) and daytime heating will again squeeze out numerous showers and storms by Tuesday afternoon. Locally heavy rain from slow-moving storms will be the main concern, but some strong winds and hail are also possible. Wednesday and possibly Thursday look showery/stormy too, before a high-pressure ridge starts pushing us more toward warm, drier weather by the weekend.
I will start taking entries for the annual SUMMER FORECAST CONTEST now through May 31. Email email@example.com with your name, your location of residence (city, town or part of county), and 2 guesses: Roanoke’s highest temperature, and the date on which it will occur between June 1 and August 31. As a matter of reference, every year on record since the late 1940s had had a highest temperature between 91 and 105. I will put out some more reminders on this.