Hail-chunking Roanoke storm was exception, not rule; storms expected to be more widely scattered for Thursday
An isolated severe storm with voluminous hail up to golfball-sized just happened to cross the Roanoke metro area early Wednesday evening. The National Weather Service radar rain estimate map for Wednesday shows a streak of higher rainfall totals, many an inch or more, north to south through Roanoke, reflective of about three different storm cells that formed just north of the city and tracked southward. It was the last of the three cells that became severe, dropping a lot of hail on much of the western two-thirds of Roanoke and into Salem and nearby areas of Botetourt, Roanoke and Franklin counties. While much of the Roanoke Valley was getting pelted, the radar map shows that far more real estate across western Virginia was dry. Roanoke’s deluge/hailstorm aside, the atmosphere on the whole is drying out quite a bit from the muggy, showery early-week pattern. Storm development is likely to be much less on Thursday, though as usual with hot days in the 80s to low 90s, a few afternoon showers and storms can pop up here and there.
It appears the core of the heat dome is going to remain well west of our region — widespread 110-plus readings occurred in Oklahoma on Wednesday. No return to 100-plus temperatures appears to be on our horizon, as the heat dome will likely shift even farther west with time. There are even some hints now and then on long-range models of genuinely cooler air from Canada making more of a push than we’ve seen in a long time, but this is not enough of a consensus yet to go with. Heat domes as massive and intensely parched as this summer’s don’t go quietly into their good night, especially in early August.