We’re really down to radar-watching in regard to Thursday’s severe weather threat. The first question is how much of Wednesday evening’s massive storm cluster in the Upper Midwest — finally starting to organize into a “bow echo” at this midnight writing, signalling an increased high wind threat — will be able to make it as far south as part of Southwest Virginia. A lot of forecast models want to keep it north of Interstate 64, and there’s a lot of doubt about how much of it can make it over the mountains anyway. But if part of it does make it over and gets farther south, some morning thunderstorms would be possible. Coming through at the coolest part of the day would undoubtedly make the storms weaker than if they had come through in the afternoon or early evening, but some strong gusts may still be possible if they do make it. The second question is how much, and exactly where, and how strong (I guess that’s really three questions) new storms develop as a cold front pushes through during the day Thursday. Some forecast models develop a squall line in West Virginia that pushes through the area during the afternoon. But others are hinting at westerly downslope winds drying out these storms and then re-forming them east of the Blue Ridge as the cold front “jumps” from west of the Alleghany Mountains into the lee trough that often forms east of the mountains in the Piedmont. A morning passage of storms could also cool and stabilize the atmosphere enough that it would be more difficult to re-develop them in the afternoon. So many variables, still. Hopefully this is a little clearer by morning light.
The best course of action on Thursday is to be prepared for severe storms with possible gusty winds throughout the day, though our region is likely to see fewer of them than central and eastern Virginia.
Once we get past this storm situation — Father’s Day weekend looks sunny, warm (80s highs) and dry.