UPDATE 6 PM, 7/1: Overnight storms possible; starting to see some cracks in the heat dome as July gets off to sizzling start
UPDATE 6 PM, 7/1: A cluster of storms on the Ohio/Indiana line — possibly connecting to additional storms developing elsewhere in the Ohio Valley — may affect our region by late evening or overnight, generally 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect as far southeast as Charleston WVa now, and may be extended farther southeast later. Roanoke’s high has only reached 97 as of 5 p.m., thanks to clouds and breezes produced by the storm cluster that caused lots of wind damage in the I-77 corridor south of Wytheville earlier today. Unless the mercury can find 4 degrees of warming before dark from the 96 reported at 5 p.m., the 100-degree streak will not continue for a third day, and there is a pretty good chance we will not see another 100-degree high for the next 2 weeks as the pattern gradually changes and the core of the heat dome slowly moves west. Several hot days in the 90s are likely this week, though, with periods of storms sliding southeastward from the Ohio Valley. END UPDATE
UPDATE 1:15 PM: A new severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for Southside counties — as far west as Franklin and Henry — as the storm cluster continues moving southeast and a few new isolated storms develop. An injury was reported from a falling tree at Rural Retreat Lake, and there are numerous reports of trees and power lines down along the I-77 and I-81 corridors south of Wytheville. Meanwhile, clouds and breezes from those storms have halted the temperature climb, for now, in the Roanoke and New River valleys. Roanoke has dropped from 96 at noon to 92 at 1 p.m. — the 100-degree streak may not make it to 3. Also of note, new storms are developing in northern Illinois and northwestern Indiana — worth watching for possible effects on Southwest Virginia by this evening, if they organize and get propelled southeastward. END UPDATE
UPDATE 12 NOON: The storm cluster is moving southeast down the Interstate 77 corridor — wind gusts of up to 68 mph have been recorded. The path is very similar to many of Saturday afternoon’s storms. The storms will track well south of Roanoke and Blacksburg, but additional storms may develop with daytime heating. END UPDATE
UPDATE 10:20 AM: SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH UNTIL 3 PM FROM ROANOKE/BLACKSBURG SOUTH TO NORTHERN NC AND WEST TO FAR SOUTHWEST CORNER OF STATE A small cluster of severe storms has entered the far southwest corner of Virginia and will track eastward to southeastward through much of Southwest and Southside Virginia through mid afternoon. Strong winds and large hail are possible with these storms. Click here for the latest watches and warnings from National Weather Service-Blacksburg. Also, follow the storms on the Radar / Future Cast in the right margin of this blog. END UDPATE
Here is a the sun setting on June this evening – after a day that topped 100 again in Roanoke, underneath anvil clouds from thunderstorms in the New River Valley, all very appropriate for how the month ended. But it was a far cry from how the month as a whole went, weatherwise, locally. Despite two searing days of extreme heat, June ended up two-tenths of a degree below normal for Roanoke and four-tenths of a degree below normal at Blacksburg — essentially a “normal” month of temperature. Of course, this month — particularly the last week — proved the old adage that normal is merely the average of extremes. July will begin extremely hot, with highs again in the 90s to near 100 on Sunday, but by late Sunday we may be seeing the first signs of the hot regime being eaten away as a weak and somewhat ill-defined “cold” front slips southward into or near our region. The front may serve as a focus for more storms — probably more akin to Saturday’s scattered strong to severe storms (some large hail reports in Carroll and Tazewell counties) rather than Friday’s uncommon derecho. The front will not make a huge difference in temperature, but we’ll slowly start seeing the numbers shaved back a bit through the week as the heat ridge slowly slips back to the west and cooler air masses start edging southeastward around it. Perhaps a week or more out, this process may get vigorous enough to get us back to normal 80s highs/60s lows for a while. Forecast model indications on the long-range pattern favor shifting a lot of this heat out West while cooling the East. I wish I could tell those of you without air-conditioning it was sooner, but it may be something to hold onto to get through some long, hot days ahead.