Blacksburg set its second consecutive record high Sunday, hitting 69, smashing the previous Jan. 13 record high from 8 years ago by 5 degrees. Roanoke came up just short, its 71 not quite reaching the Jan. 13 record of 73 from 1932. We won’t see any more record highs for a long time.
First things first. Before any further talk of Arctic cold arriving next week (very likely — but intensity and duration uncertain) or even a possible light snow system Thursday night and Friday (very iffy), there is an obvious large weather situation before our eyes, which is the strong possibility of many locations in the southern half of Virginia seeing their biggest rain in 4 months. A cold front that has brought amazing chilly weather to deep southern latitudes in the central and western U.S. will get hung up near or just east of us Monday and Tuesday. At least two different waves of low-pressure will ride up the front, spreading periods of rain. There may be some gap of rain between the two systems late Monday or early Tuesday, but rain will be possible just about any time during those days. Temperatures will start out mild on Monday, in the 50s, but colder air begins working in Monday night, and Tuesday could be a very raw day with temperatures hanging in the upper 30s to low 40s with rain. That will be a rude reality check after this weekend’s 60s and 70s. It appears now that only a few spots above 3,000 feet might get cold enough for some icing on Tuesday — keep an eye on that if you live on one of the ridgetops. As you know, a borderline situation can get badly icy fast up at those heights.
Below is the weekly snow meter. I’m already wondering as I post this, looking at new data, if I should have gone a couple flakes higher for Roanoke and Blacksburg for Friday. But a deadline is a deadline …
Chance of 1 inch of snow on scale of 0 (no chance) to 10 (certain) snowflakes.
Roanoke **** 4 snowflakes
Blacksburg **** 4 snowflakes
Outlook: This week presents at least a little difficulty. Colder weather will be returning by midweek, but it won’t be all that cold, at least this week, just typical January temperatures. There is some chance the leading edge of the cold air could catch up to the back side of Tuesday’s rain (the second day of what is likely to be a much-needed soaker) and cause some mixed precipitation, but this is more likely in higher elevations and to the north and west of Roanoke and Blacksburg. Late in the week, there is some possibility that upper-level energy squirting across the South might develop a low-pressure system that could lift moisture into cold air about Friday. It looks pretty sketchy, but there is just enough window of opportunity there that I’m a little leery, though not enough to go on the high side of the snow meter. Beyond this week, it’s looking more and more likely that a major Arctic outbreak will bring truly cold weather for several days to Southwest Virginia. That may make the snow meter a little more challenging.
Looking back: Easy week. I should have given out 10 suns for the chance of breaking record high temperatures this past weekend. Zero snowflakes for this past week was definitely the right call.
Current records: 6-0 for Roanoke, 5-1 for Blacksburg.