UPDATE MIDNIGHT, 10/4: I’m going on vacation — welcome Kathryn Prociv as guest blogger for a few days
UPDATE MIDNIGHT, 10/4: Expect a warm, dry day Friday with highs in the mid 70s to near 80, and Saturday may be similar. The cold front will begin to push toward us late Saturday and Sunday with rain a good bet. Cold air comes in behind it for some chilly mornings early to mid next week. I’ll leave the details to my fill-in through Wednesday, Kathryn Prociv — her posts will be put up in the early to mid afternoon most days. I plan to be back on the blog next Thursday. Kathryn, the keys to the blog are yours … END UPDATE
We’re about to do something totally new on Weather Journal for the next six days. There will be a guest blogger filling in for me while I go on vacation, Friday through Wednesday. I haven’t had any totally “unplugged” off time in 3 years. I think it’s time for a break from the Internet, blogging, tweeting, etc., especially considering that we’ll soon be entering what, for a weather blogger in Southwest Virginia, is the prime season. When I’ve been out in the past, years ago, I’ve shut the blog down for a little while. There were fewer of you viewing and commenting back then. Let’s try something different.
Kathryn Prociv will be filling in for me during my off time. Kathryn researched tornadoes in the Appalachians — click here for articles I wrote near the start of her research, and then after it was completed — for her geography master’s degree thesis at Virginia Tech. She currently teaches an introductory meteorology course at Tech. Kathryn has ridden approximately 20,000 miles — the Earth’s circumference at the equator is almost 25,000 miles, for some comparison — over the last 3 years with me in the van I have driven during the annual Virginia Tech storm chase trips (here is a pic of Kathryn and a severe storm), serving as my radar operator and a student chase leader. She has been my meteorological eyes and ears when my attention had to be on the road. You don’t spend that much time inside cramped vans and discussing life over usually very quick meals (fast-food Mexican is a mutual favorite of ours on the road) without getting to know one another very well. That’s why I have the confidence in Kathryn to take Weather Journal for the next 6 days, generally following what we normally do here, but adding her own personal flair. Those on Twitter who follow @KathrynProciv know she already follows weather closely and sends out some interesting “tweets” about meteorological topics. I hope you will welcome her and converse with her in the comments as you do with me. You may like her better than me. Be aware that the blogging/commenting process will be going through a third party on our already very busy online team — Kathryn will not be writing or approving comments on the blog directly — so be patient if it seems a little slow at times.
Kathryn has the chance to attain folk hero status with Weather Journal snow fans if she can coax eastward what some models are showing for this weekend in West Virginia. After a couple of days of warmer than normal, dry weather Thursday and Friday, a strong cold front will approach our region late Saturday and early Sunday. It will kick up some showers and possibly thunderstorms ahead of it. Behind it, the coldest air of the season so far will rush in, possibly early enough to change some rain to snow in the mountains of West Virginia by early Sunday. I wouldn’t entirely rule out a few flakes making it above 3,000 feet in the western fringe of Virginia, but this probably will stay just to our west. The chief result for us will the potential for widespread frost by Monday morning, with widespread lows in the 30s possible, and perhaps some 20s. I’ll let Kathryn keep you up to date on the snow and frost potential over the weekend, and looking ahead to what the pattern has in store next week and beyond.