The Friday evening satellite picture gives a clear picture of the wall of moisture in the central U.S. headed our way, pushed ahead by a cold front. This moisture stream has some origins in three different tropical systems — former Hurricane Ingrid in the western Gulf of Mexico, former Hurricane Manuel in the eastern Pacific, and a still-existing weak circulation in the western Gulf that never quite matured into a tropical cyclone — but even without the tropical systems the digging jet stream trough would be more than sufficient to pump up tons of deeply moist tropical/subtropical air from the Gulf. The cold front is expected to push a band of rain across Southwest Virginia during the day on Saturday, possibly preceded by some morning showery stuff, and maybe a little more behind it. The image with lots of green at left is the 24-hour simulated radar on the 18Z North American Model — or, the way the model projects the radar will look like at about 2 p.m. on Saturday, or early in the second half or so of the Virginia Tech-Marshall game in Blacksburg and an hour and a half before kickoff of the Virginia-Virginia Military Institute game in Charlottesville. Even if this projected radar images is a little off one way or the other on time, it would be wise to take rain gear to these games, and to other outdoor events occurring in our region. There will probably be a sharp back edge to this rain that pushes through by late afternoon or early evening, though some lingering showers may occur into the evening hours. Rainfall amounts of more than half an inch appear likely for most of the region, with some topping an inch. The presence of tropical moisture and some disturbances moving through the moisture field may trigger locally heavy rainfall amounts, though recent dryness in September has raised the bar substantially on what it will take to cause flooding from where it was during most of a wet summer. Upper-wind dynamics are sufficient for severe storms — BUT instability is likely to be lacking considering widespread cloud cover and early-day rain. Don’t be surprised to hear a rumble of thunder or two, or perhaps catch a quick strong wind gust from downdrafts within the rain band, but the lack of sun is likely to keep the lid on any real widespread thunderstorm issues. Beyond this, the front brings dryness back by Sunday, with several sunny, seasonable temperature days ahead (70s highs, 40s-50s lows), slowly warming by late next week.