While all eyes are on Elsa, our region is experiencing a dangerously hot pattern. The temperatures are expected to be several degrees above normal for early July translating into a very hot day. Normal highs are expected to be very warm, in the upper 80s, but today our region will be in the middle 90s. A little humidity and we are looking at temps a few degrees warmer than the actual number. Not much in the way of cloud cover today and very little chance of a storm to pop up either, not zero, but not likely.
Tonight the pattern stays muggy and mild as has been the case the past few nights. There is a chance for some pockets of fog to develop in the early morning hours in the usual locations of the Highlands and the NRV, but overall widespread fog is not expected.
Wednesday is what I like to refer to as the set-up day, which mean the atmosphere is getting ready for the stormy or rainy day ahead. There will a noticeable uptick in the cloud cover late in the day as Elsa moves closer to the Commonwealth. The temps on Wednesday will still be hot, topping out in the upper 80s to low 90s even with the increasing cloudiness. A front to our west looks to stall out north of the Ohio River and that may add as a blocker and a funnel that will corral the moisture from Elsa and allow us to get even more rain. That is if the front gets close enough and times out with Elsa’s arrival in the area. That may not be the case, but it is worth looking into for now.
The track officially takes Elsa along the coastal plain and out to sea near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay on Thursday night or Friday morning. This is one case scenario, others bring the cyclone a bit closer to our Piedmont counties of Halifax, Charlotte, Appomattox and Pittsylvania. Either way there will be some decent rain on Thursday ahead of the center of the storm as the rain bands fan out over the region. Most meteorological models are keeping us under an inch of rain, but if the track moves a bit closer, we will get a bit more than that.
Friday will see the exodus of the cyclone and the chance for some spotty showers to linger around. don’t expect any major cool down from the event, our forecast has the temps back in the upper 80s on Friday. The above mentioned front is forecast to stay north and stationary, then progress north on Saturday as a warm front, meaning a hotter air mass Saturday and Sunday with temps in the 90s and some off and on showers.
Keeping an eye on Elsa, even a small tropical storm or depression can do a lot of damage, Florence and Michael were not hurricanes when they generated several inches of rain over our area just a few years ago.