A quick-hitting line of gusty showers and maybe some thunderstorms is expected to arrive in Southwest Virginia on Friday morning, within a couple of hours wither way of sunrise. Though rain may be heavy briefly at any given location, this is not likely to be a heavy rain-maker in terms of amounts — the Weather Prediction Center moved much of our region into its second-lightest shade of green signaling only 0.10 to 0.25 inch of rain. That’s because (1) the most intense energy of the storm is heading northeast toward the Great Lakes; (2) the biggest slug of Gulf of Mexico moisture is staying south and east of us; (3) downsloping westerly winds at the surface drying out the rain somewhat and (4) the fast-moving, narrow nature of the rain band headed our way. The biggest issue will be the potential for gusty winds. There are very strong southerly winds ahead of the approaching cold front near and just above the surface. Some of the higher ridges will see 50 mph gusts overnight and early Friday — hence the wind advisory for much of our region through 7 a.m. It is also possible that downdrafts with some of the showers and storms may pull the stronger winds to the surface in quick bursts even at lower elevations.
Once the showers/storms push past in the morning, Friday may be a decent outside day. The sun may poke out and highs may recover into the 60s to low 70s. The cold front does not arrive until late in the day Friday or early Friday evening, and the main part of any cold air does not really dig in until Sunday morning, when most locations in our region will be below freezing. A steady warmup is expected next week, followed by another sharp cold front late in the week.