Busy weather picture
UPDATE: A Severe thunderstorm watch is in effect until 8 p.m. tonight
Lots of weather to talk about so we’ll dive right in. First, today – Wednesday – will be the most uncomfortable day of the summer so far. The thermometer will climb into the mid-90s and dewpoints will be in the low to mid-70s (otherwise known as the “yuck!” range), convincing the National Weather Service to issue a Heat Advisory for the region beginning at noon today. Ensure you drink plenty of water today, take frequent breaks if you’re working or playing outside, and check on at-risk neighbors and family members.
All that heat and humidity will combine with the approach of a cold front from the west to create conditions for strong thunderstorms around the Fredericksburg area this afternoon and evening. The Storm Prediction Center has us in a Slight Risk for severe storms as shown here:Don’t let the “Slight” wording lull you into complacency…what that means is there is a decent chance that any storms in the yellow shading could reach severe levels. The main threat looks to be damaging winds (in excess of 58 mph) and large hail (>1 inch), so stay tuned to weather radios and alerts as the afternoon wears on.
The slow moving cold front will cross the area tomorrow and fire up more storms. That plus the approach of Tropical Storm Arthur (likely to be a hurricane) will trigger heavy rain over the I-95 corridor tomorrow. Here is a graphic showing how much precipitation is likely to fall between now and Friday morning:Close to two inches of rainfall will inundate the ‘Burg, probably coming in quick bursts during storms which could lead to some flash flooding. (The red shading off the southeastern U.S. coast is the heavy rain associated directly with the tropical storm.)
And finally we get to Arthur itself. The current National Hurricane Center track prediction takes the center over the Outer Banks of North Carolina during the early morning hours Friday. Thus if you have beach plans the next 48-72 hours you may not have the best weather to contend with. The good news is that Fredericksburg will escape most of the direct effects of this first tropical system of the season. The chief effect the ‘Burg will feel is a breezy northwest wind Friday afternoon as the cold front and tropical system pass to the east.
So, what does all this mean for Fourth of July festivities? There could be some lingering clouds and some light showers Friday morning but all that should clear out before noon. The sun will come out, the breeze – up to 25 mph – will blow, and the thermometer will top out in the low 80s with much more comfortable humidity levels. Whew!