UPDATE 4:10 PM: Severe thunderstorm watch has been CANCELLED for Southwest Virginia. The squall line has moved east, and the severe storm threat has passed. Follow the link below for the latest on area damage. Will plan new blog update next hour or so. END UPDATE
UPDATE 12:30 PM: Severe thunderstorm watch issued until 7 p.m. for the western two-thirds of Virginia. END UPDATE
UPDATE 11:45 PM: The Storm Prediction Center says there is a 95 percent of a severe weather watch being issued today for most of Virginia, with an upgrade to moderate risk extending west to Blue Ridge (Roanoke marks northwest edge of moderate risk zone). Model guidance continues to conflict on whether the line of storms in Kentucky and Ohio cross the mountains intact or diminishes and re-forms to east of the Blue Ridge. SPC expects instability to be sufficient to maintain the storms crossing the mountains. Arrival sometime between 1 and 4 p.m. likely for Roanoke/New River valleys, if the storms survive the mountain crossing. END UPDATE
This much has become a little clearer: The line to watch for possible severe thunderstorms in Southwest Virginia later today (1 to 4 p.m., or so) is coming out of Indiana and southwestern Ohio, soon to move into central and eastern Kentucky. A new severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for areas downstream in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky, edging right to the border of the far southwest corner of Virginia. These storms are associated with a short-wave trough aloft and the advancing cold front. Some storms are also occurring in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky at the end of the larger storm complex to our north, which is generally moving more east and northeast rather than southeast toward us — though some of it may edge into the I-64 corridor in the Alleghany and Rockbridge counties in the next couple of hours. In time, the new line will likely overtake this activity. The big question that remains unresolved is whether or not the new line of storms will move over the Appalachians and eastward this afternoon into Virginia, or whether it will weaken crossing the mountains and a new line will take over east of the Blue Ridge in the Piedmont. Also some questions about how outflow from the ongoing storm complex to our north will affect the new line. Parts of central and eastern Virginia continue under a moderate risk of severe storms today, where instability, deep moisture and wind shear are likely to be maximized for a higher risk of damaging winds and possibly a few tornadoes than we will have in our part of the state.