When it was flirting with 100 degrees in the first week of October, deep down we all knew winter was coming much sooner than felt possible.
Arctic cold fronts pushing through Thursday night and again early next week will provide midwinter-type temperatures to our region, with 30s/40s highs and teens/20s lows both Friday-Saturday and next Tuesday-Wednesday or so, the second wave perhaps a little colder than the first.
Thursday's cold front will push through rain showers ahead of it -- it will get into the 50s and 60s during the day -- with some mountain snow showers possible after it blows through on Friday morning, mainly west of Roanoke.
The "s-word" has and will be the subject of much social media conjecture in days ahead as various forecast models occasionally toss out a bone on a run or a 2 several days out depicting a wave of low-pressure moving in such a manner to toss some moisture into the cold.
For our region, there is not much meat on the bone yet to expect any kind of widespread, significant wintry precipitation. There may be some snow showers with each frontal passage early Friday and again late Monday into early Tuesday. The second of the two holds somewhat better odds of producing more noticeable snow across more of the region, but at this point, appears highly unlikely to produce anything resembling a winter storm.
There may be a wetter storm system late next week that could conceivably catch lingering cold air, but it's simply too far out to say to what degree this could occur. It would be uncanny if it did, seeing as that could be Friday, November 15, the anniversary of the region's earliest ice storm on record that wreaked havoc on still-leafy trees at many elevations above 1,500 feet.
Whether this early cold represents a trend for the winter or is something we'll cycle through for a fairly mild winter (as happened a year ago) remains unclear. Soon, I'll get back to discuss possibilities for the winter ahead, make a stab at something of a winter seasonal guess, and introduce the annual snowfall prediction contest, which will NOT include any oddball November wintry intrigue we may yet uncover.