UPDATE 8:15 AM: A narrow band of heavy rain is moving southeastward from Greenbrier County, W.Va., into the Roanoke Valley this morning. It is forming along a weak warm front, the boundary between the relatively cool, dry air we’ve had much of the week to the northeast and warmer, moister air to the southwest. Eventually this line is expected to diminish into some showers, but intermittent locally downpours will be possible through the morning. END UPDATE
Moisture is slowly building after a long dry spell. There were some showers around on Thursday. There’ll be a few more, and maybe some afternoon thunderstorms, on Friday. But Saturday remains the day that looks like it could well take the title of rainiest day in September 2013. Even at that, though, the rain may make a faster push through the region, ahead of a cold front, than earlier thought. The 18Z NAM simulated radar view, at left, shows the bulk of rain over our region about mid-afternoon Saturday, with the back edge already easing into far southwest Virginia. That faster speed could tend to hold rainfall amounts in check — not a lot of stalling or repeating downpours, but a passing band of showers and some storms, especially along and east of the Blue Ridge. Perhaps a lot of .50 to 1 inch amounts and some locally heavier amounts. The faster timing, though, may make the Saturday daylight hours pretty sloppy. Take rain gear if you’re going to college football games (Marshall is at Virginia Tech, Virginia Military Institute is at the University of Virginia).
Even with somewhat lesser amounts, Sept. 21 has a good chance to stand out as the rainiest day of the month because it appears a long stretch of drier weather with fairly normal temperatures (70s highs, 50s lows, maybe cooler at times) takes hold after this weekend’s front pushes through. Earlier ideas about a possible coastal storm early next week appear unlikely now.