The timing was the worst. The timing of a cold front and associated upper-level “shortwave” was critical for what would come of today’s potential storm threat. Those effects arrived in the middle of a hot, muggy afternoon, instead of the wee hours of a morning. The lack of any morning showers and storms allowed temperatures to rise under bright sunshine and violently destabilize the atmosphere. The front slicing into the hot, muggy air and the shortwave providing additional support aloft was able to easily overcome the effect of downsloping westerly winds blowing over the mountains. Storms along a squall line erupted, with strong outflow winds that rocked much of Southwest Virginia. It appears one of the worst storms in the line tracked right along the U.S. 460 corridor through the heart of the most populated areas of the Roanoke and New River valleys, where nearly 70,000 are without power. Wind gusts clocked at 68 mph at the Roanoke Regional Airport, combined with wet ground from many weeks of abundant rainfall spelled doom for many fully leafed trees, toppling them into houses and cars.
The squall line is past, the severe thunderstorm watch is cancelled, and three days of warm, dry weather with plenty of sunshine are ahead for Father’s Day weekend.