Good morning folks! Most of us are packing bags and getting ready to head out for the day to celebrate Independence Day and for the most part the weather will cooperate. We wish we could say we expect full sunshine and no rain but the current pattern won't budge, translating to a mix of sun, high clouds and afternoon thunderstorms today through Sunday. Widespread showers are not in the forecast but passing strong to severe thunderstorms certainly will be in play, so we highly recommend checking the radar every so often after the noon hour to stay ahead of any incoming storms. Temps all the while will be slightly below normal but don't celebrate just yet as muggy conditions continue, keeping heat indices closer to the upper 80's each afternoon. Of course if you need a break from the heat, all you need to do is drive the 15 - 30 min to the Parkway or your favorite ridgeline road to find temps in the low - mid 70's!
For those staying outside most of today, it looks like we'll deal with fog in the valleys through the mid morning hours, followed by mostly sunny skies through the 12 - 2pm time frame. Past this point we'll notice high clouds streaming in from the west and it may take till the 3 - 5pm time frame for thunderstorms to fire up and take notice when they do because a handful will produce heavy downpours that could drop an inch of rain in under 30 minutes. As scattered thunderstorms develop, additional cloud cover will fill the sky and temps will hold to the low 70's along the ridgelines and mid 80's in the valleys. Firework shows scheduled for shortly after sunset will need to thread the needle as scattered thunderstorms continue into the late evening hours, eventually scaling back to isolated coverage around midnight. This will create a smoky setup to the firework show as above average moisture levels and low cloud cover cap smoke, but it will also lead to a more colorful display (there is always a silver lining). Temps dip into the low - mid 60's tonight under mostly cloudy skies.
Friday through Sunday will keep temps to the low - mid 80's across the lower elevations as more cloud cover sits overhead than sunshine, due to an uptick in shower coverage. Friday may offer more sunshine than Saturday or Sunday, but either way you slice it will be a noticeable uptick in cloud cover compared to Thursday. Thunderstorms are likely each afternoon and Saturday and Sunday will duke it out for the top spot as to which day receives the most rainfall. If you have outdoor plans, we recommend checking the radar as you head out and throughout the day and a backup plan indoors is a good bet as thunderstorms develop after 2pm each day. Overnight lows will continue to settle into the low - mid 60's each night with evening thunderstorms gradually fizzling out as the night moves along.
Monday into Tuesday features a passing cold front, one that will not drop temps much but will introduce drier air by the middle of next week. This will lead to a flip in the battle for sky cover as sunshine takes hold, while partly cloudy skies develop each afternoon and we could have full sunshine by the middle of next week. Temps hold to the mid 80's Monday and Tuesday but could make a run at the upper 80's by Wednesday.
Our next discussion will come out Sunday afternoon and we'll focus on the slight pattern change arriving Monday/Tuesday. Be safe out there and Happy Independence Day!