And since it’s mentioned in the paper today with the column … one more time, I’ll link the YouTube version of Monday night’s WeatherBrains broadcast on which I was a guest.
(UPDATE 5:30 PM: Roanoke high of 83 fell well short of record mark for date. END UPDATE) We continue with the fall warm spell today — and really, through at least Saturday — underneath the Southeast U.S. high pressure dome, with highs in the mid to upper 80s possible at Roanoke on this Wednesday and locations to the south and east, and well-above-normal mid 70s to lower 80s to the west. Roanoke’s Oct. 2 record high temperature of 88, set in 1919, has at least some chance of being tied or beaten today. Temperatures may be similar Thursday but the record jumps back to 91, also set in 1919, and by Oct. 5 and 6 record highs are in the upper 90s (!) dating to a torrid autumn heat wave in 1941. Blacksburg’s record highs run in the mid 80s the next couple of days, and will probably not be challenged, though an 80-degree high is not out of the question. All of Blacksburg’s record highs from Sept. 30 to Oct. 6 date to either 1953 or 1954.
A tropical disturbance over the Caribbean continues to be closely monitored by the National Hurricane Center (which is continuing to operate despite the federal government shutdown). As of Tuesday evening, the hurricane center gave this system a 50 percent chance of becoming a full-fledged tropical cyclone — at least a depression — in the next 5 days, and a 30 percent chance in the next 2 days. Conditions are far from perfect for an explosively developing hurricane, but may become more conducive as it drifts into the Gulf of Mexico for this to become, possibly, Tropical Storm Karen. Some early forecast model tracks have already been clustering on the central Gulf Coast from New Orleans to Pensacola, which of course would put the system right in the wheelhouse to move in a manner that could have significant effect on us early next week. And indeed, many of the early model tracks suggest an Appalachian runner type path that, historically, has led to heavy rain in our region. The system is expected to be swept north-northeastward by a dipping jet stream trough and associated cold front moving through the central U.S. It is uncertain at this time if the trough will supply enough shear to keep the system weak, or whether a decently strong tropical storm or even weak hurricane will make landfall and move inland. This is something to keep on the backburner as we move toward the Sunday-Tuesday timeframe early next week.