Don’t blink or you’ll miss Tropical Storm Fernand in the western Gulf of Mexico. It’ll come ashore in Mexico in the next 12-24 hours and weaken inland, dumping a lot of rain. We’re six names deep on the Atlantic tropical list now without a hurricane — we went 2 more than this before Irene became the season’s first hurricane in 2011.
It seems odd to say this after such a wet summer, but this week doesn’t look like it will produce much rain for Southwest Virginia. The Weather Prediction Center is coloring us only in the second-lightest shade of green over the next 5 days (at left), projecting widespread rainfall to average only a tenth to a quarter of an inch over that timeframe. If you look out at the larger map, the heavier rain is centered in the Great Lakes and Northeast with the jet stream energy and a series of disturbances that may produce clusters of storms, in the western Gulf of Mexico, and in the interior West where remnants of Tropical Storm Ivo from the Pacific may dump flooding rains in some odd desert locations. Moisture will slowly build early this week, possibly enough for scattered afternoon storms by Tuesday. Late Wednesday, an upper-air disturbance topping the warm, dry ridge to our west, plus a weak cold front, may bring some heightened chance of storms, possibly even a storm cluster or squall line moving toward us from the Ohio Valley. Without a dense flow of moisture from the Gulf and with fast-moving systems from the northwest, the chances of heavy rain will be minimal, though there may be at least some chance of gusty winds with midweek storms. Temperatures this week will be mostly in the 80s for highs and mid 50s to mid 60s for lows, though a 90-degree reading or two may be possible Tuesday and perhaps again by the weekend.
Meteorological summer ends Saturday. Roanoke at 21.18 inches of rain since June 1 needs another .11 inch of rain this week for the summer (June 1-Aug. 31) to move into third place surpassing 21.28 in 1937. Blacksburg at 17.40 inches needs only .03 inch this week for the summer to move to fourth wettest surpassing 17.42 inches in 1996. Roanoke data goes back to 1912, Blacskburg to 1952. It will have to be far wetter than projected for either site to move up any more places on the soggy summer rankings — but never say never.