Based on number and distribution of storm reports, Friday actually turned into the worst day of severe weather this week, with numerous reports of wind damage from the Blue Ridge eastward in Virginia and North Carolina, stretching north to New York and south to Georgia. Strong winds were responsible for toppling trees and knocking out power in Henry, Franklin and Bedford counties. There was also an apparent tornado that damaged some structures in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, and another in Georgia. It was was mostly just a quick burst of heavy rain in the Roanoke and New River valleys.
We’ve had winter, summer and spring in the first three weeks of April. Perhaps now we can make some claim to having something of a fall-like weekend, as the cold front will usher in crisp, cool air from Canada for a weekend chock full of largely attended local activities. Highs will struggle to make 60 on Saturday in the Roanoke Valley and eastward, and probably won’t make it at all to the west. Sunday afternoon will be similar, maybe even a bit cooler. By Saturday night and Sunday morning, as high pressure builds in from the west, clear skies and calming winds may allow temperatures to drop to near or below freezing west of Roanoke and some outlying locations and sheltered valleys elsewhere. It may be wise to bring in any tender potted vegetation for Sunday morning, and perhaps Monday morning as well. This general temperature regime of upper 50s to 60s highs/30s-40s lows is likely to continue for several days as occasional frontal passages continue to reinforce the Canadian air mass. Cooler than normal temperatures are expected to dominate the central and eastern U.S. through most or all of the next 10 days. This kind of weather pattern often shuts off the Gulf of Mexico as a major moisture source for our region, so most of these cold fronts are going to pass through dry or with minimal shower and thunderstorm activity. In that way, it is very much like we often see in October rather than April, which this year, is proving to be a month for all seasons.