Storms bring much needed rain to the area

Storm coverage
Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 8:13 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Wednesday finally brought more rain and storm coverage to the area but as usual with storms, not everyone received rain. The good news is that some areas picked up more than a half an inch of rain. The bad news is that it’s not enough of a good soaking in the ground and more heat this week will lead to more moisture evaporation.

Rainfall ranged from nothing to just over 2″ in some spots. Now with any storm this week we have the potential for a few storms to be strong to severe. There were a few severe storms on Wednesday however no damage was reported.

In fact two storms showed a downburst signature on radar. A downburst is air rushing down and out of a thunderstorm and can hit the ground at high speeds leading to straight line wind damage.

We can see an estimate of wind speed and movement on radar with velocity, and that shows us wind in relation to the radar site.We typically use velocity to show rotation with storms. However we can use it to detect peaks of high winds rushing to the ground and downburst winds. Wind moving toward the radar site is in green. Wind moving away from the radar site is in red. The wind in the bright neon green pixel is a wind gust above the ground at 50mph. Just below that is the light red pixel, and both of those are moving away from each other in an outward direction. It’s not easily clear cut but that would be a downburst signature on radar near Dale Enterprise. The next image shows another one near Columbia Furnace and St. Luke. In fact a weather station in St. Luke recorded a 40mph wind gust at the time so that matched up pretty well with what was being picked up on radar.

Downburst winds can cause just as much damage as tornadoes and often severe thunderstorms are not taken seriously. Winds more than 50-60mph is enough to cause damage. Thankfully we have no received and damage reports. This might be because where the strongest winds hit- it could have been in a field.

Here’s a look at rainfall totals and the current drought situation.

Do we have rain relief in sight? Well we have more storms in the forecast especially for Friday and Saturday. After that there are several variables at play. The cold front moving through Saturday and where it stalls out will determine if we end up with a much needed washout-out this weekend or only some storms Saturday. Then we have Tropical Storm Fred which may bring some rain to the area next week. Because there are several scenarios at play here, the forecast will be changing from Sunday into early next week and the WHSV First Alert Storm Team will keep you updated.

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