Possible tropical system

The "X" shows the position of a disturbance that may drop into the northeastern Gulf of Mexico and, possibly, attain tropical cyclone characteristics later this week.

Whether or not your particular location has gotten a downpour over this extended Fourth of July weekend, there has been plenty of moisture in the air, so it has been sticky even when it hasn't been stormy. We have another day of the sticky-showery-stormy pattern to go before something of a break.

A cold front will slide across our region from the north and northwest on Monday. It will do so a bit stubbornly, hanging up a bit not far to our south, so don't expect a sudden shift to dry breezes. Instead, the chance of showers and storms will linger on Monday, with some afternoon heating into the 80s, and moisture still hanging pretty thickly at the surface even as it slowly dries out a bit higher above us. 

By Tuesday, the front will push far enough south that somewhat drier air will work in on north and northeast breezes, with highs falling back into the upper 70s to mid 80s range and dew points dropping back into the upper 50s to mid 60s. Those are not super cool or super dry readings, but after days of mid 80s-lower 90s highs and upper 60s-mid 70s dew points, it will be a decent break, with many fewer pop-up showers and storms, probably shunted to near the North Carolina line and west of I-77 if any develop at all.  Wednesday appears likely to be a similarly warm, not terribly humid and mostly dry day, never totally ruling out an isolated shower or storm with afternoon heating and terrain effects.

While we take a couple steps back from the sticky-stormy pattern, a disturbance in the central U.S. will slide into the northern Gulf of Mexico, where surface convection may feed off extremely warm waters and possibly develop into a tropical cyclone. This is a bit of an unusual evolution for a tropical system, but the general scenario has broad support on forecast models, and seems fairly reasonable. 

At this point, there is no solid expectation that this system will become a hurricane, though that is possible, nor is there any strong expectation that this system will directly affect our weather in Southwest Virginia, though that also is possible. At the least, its presence in the northern Gulf of Mexico will help circulate some more dense moisture our way late in the week, renewing our chances of afternoon showers and storms by late week as our temperatures also creep back up toward 90.

If you have plans near the Gulf Coast, we're not at the point that you should definitely cancel those plans or expect evacuations, but do keep an eye on forecasts with this system. Best guess now is that it will become a tropical depression or possibly low-end tropical storm before being pulled back northward inland.

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Contact Kevin Myatt at kevin.myatt@roanoke.com. Follow him on Twitter @kevinmyattwx.


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