The weather pattern appears to be pretty well set through the weekend and into early next week: below-normal high temperatures in the mid 70s to lower 80s through Saturday, gradually warming to near normal in the 80s to some low 90s areawide early next week, with a chance of showers and a few thunderstorms each day as moisture overrides a stalled frontal boundary to our south. By the weekend, the front will wash out, and there will be a surge of moisture into the Tennessee and Ohio valleys that we may get in on some by next week.
Beyond the immediate horizon, the question that arises is whether there is any sign of a return to the extreme heat we just experienced. The answer, for now, is NO. But it also doesn’t look like a prolonged unseasonably cool period is upon us either. The general trend seems to be more toward a hot but not extremely hot, sticky, showery-stormy at times pattern setting up. Forecast models favor the next round of heat dome high pressure building eastward across the northern tier of states. This would effectively block cool Canadian air masses from moving southward for any lengthy periods of time, but it would also not put us under the heat dome as we just endured for several games. Rather, we would be more south of it, reaping easterly, southeasterly or southerly surface breezes (perhaps even northeasterly at times, for some cooler, damp days), depending on exactly where the core of high pressure would be at any given time. This would lead to much more moisture moving in off the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, and would bring more of a tropical kind of heat rather than the desert kind of heat we imported since starting in late June from the west. A typical pattern like that features lots of highs in the 80s to lower 90s — rarely higher than the mid 90s for Roanoke — and thick humidity with periods of afternoon showers and thunderstorms. The Climate Prediction Center has Southwest Virginia leaning a little toward wetter than normal in both the 6-10-day and 8-14-day periods, and also a slight edge to warmer than normal in each of those time frames (6-10-day linked here and 8-14-day linked here) with the darker red colors over the northern U.S.
So, as of now, the prognosis would be that 100-degree temperatures are unlikely to return for the Roanoke Valley and locations south and east, but don’t expect an early taste of fall either. The heat wave is past, but the humid wave may only be just beginning. Enjoy the next few days of 70s and low 80s before hotter, sticky weather arrives by early next week.