It appears tornado season has awakened from its yearlong national slumber with reports of massive damage, scores of injuries and some fatalities in the counties west and southwest of Dallas-Fort Worth. This was a situation that looked to be fairly marginal for severe weather, but some shear and instability ingredients came together just right along the Interstate 35 corridor for a small but intense outbreak of violent tornadoes. The Hokie Storm Chasers were on storms north of Dallas and observed intense rotation in some of the supercells. In time we’ll see more of what they came up with, as well as some of the horrible scenes of devastation morning is likely to reveal.
We don’t have the kind of ingredients the Dallas area did, but there will be a stationary front draped just north of us for a few days. This will be close enough that some waves moving along the front could trigger some scattered showers and storms in or near our area in the warmth and some humidity that has built. A repeat of Wednesday’s not-quite-record high temperatures (91 at Roanoke, 85 at Blacksburg) probably will not occur with more clouds and a bit thicker humidity, but highs in the 80s are likely, and that will be enough to help cook up some showers and storms. It appears we have several days of the spotty/chancy kind of showers and storms ahead, with periodic weak impulses and this front drifting around. By next week, we’ll finally get a push from a cold front to the west to clear this out a bit, with possibly a stronger, more organized round of showers and storms as it pushes through. There are some indications of another cut-off or at least slow-moving low developing over the eastern U.S. next week that could spin in a few days of cooler-than-normal temperatures. We haven’t entirely shaken the “blocky” weather pattern of slow-moving features and south-displaced cool air masses just because it got suddenly hot on Wednesday.