Does Mother Nature know it’s May? Apparently not! Lynchburg reached 32 degrees early Saturday morning, tying the record set back in 1947. On the Eastern Shore, Wallops Island dropped to 38 degrees, breaking the old record of 40 degrees from 1977!
Across other areas in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, temperatures were as cold as 27 degrees in Altoona, Pennsylvania and 24 degrees in Binghamton, New York, which set an all-time record low for the month of May.
Another freeze is expected tonight across much of our central and western counties, with overnight low temperatures well below freezing. A Freeze Warning is in effect for those areas, with a Frost Advisory to the east. Coastal locations will remain above freezing, closer to 40 degrees.
Mother Nature tried to deliver winter several months too late. These temperatures are never good news for farmers and those beautiful blooming flowers. But some flowers started blooming earlier this winter, due to the lack of snow and cold temperatures. We are about to break this ‘cold snap’ with a pattern change expected later next week.
A large ridge of high-pressure will take over much of the Eastern U.S. late next week. This will put a trough across the Western, U.S., which means much warmer temperatures for our area. Another shot of ‘cooler’ weather will return briefly after next weekend (May 16) — but there are no big signs that we will go back into a chilly pattern. If anything, the ridge will likely build back across the Eastern United States.
Next Friday and Saturday will likely be our warmest days with highs in the mid to upper 80’s — possibly approaching 90 degrees across Central and Southern Virginia. The ‘normal’ high temperature for this time of the year is in the low to mid 70’s. We will go from 15 to 20 degrees below average to 15 to 20 degrees ABOVE average!
Taking a closer look at the long-term temperature forecast from the European Ensemble for Richmond and Central Virginia, it shows a warming trend by the end of the upcoming week, with cooler temperatures May 18 through May 20, before warming well into the 80’s by Memorial Day Weekend.
In the past, a good majority of our Memorial Day Weekend plans have either postponed or cancelled due to rain or storms. Of course, due to the coronavirus, a lot of plans have already been pushed to back burner. However, for those of you who still want to get out and go to the park, or exercise on the beach, the odds of seeing warmer temperatures (so far) appear decent at this point.
While warmer temperatures ‘usually’ mean a break in the rainfall department, it all depends on exactly where the ridging sets up. If the ridge sets up across the Mid-Atlantic, this could mean a southerly/southwesterly flow with a better chance for storms across the Gulf Coast and Lower to Central Mississippi River Valley. The Climate Prediction Center’s 8 to 14 day Precipitation Outlook hints at just that.
Regardless, although we will likely see a few days of showers or storms with cooler temperatures coming back into the picture (briefly) after this next warm spell after next weekend, it DOES NOT look like we will go back to a long-term wet or cool pattern.