RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The persistent ridge over the central U.S. is expanding a bit more over us for the next few days, leading to that dangerous combination of triple-digit temperatures and humid conditions. Afternoon Heat Index values will be as high as 109 degrees in the shade, and feel even hotter if you’re active or in direct sunlight. With this critical range of dangerous heat indices, there is a Heat Advisory in effect today for all of central and eastern Virginia.
In addition to these dangerous heat indices, there is also poor air quality in the heart of Central Virginia for the Richmond and Petersburg metro areas. Another Code Orange Air Quality Alert is in effect until 8 p.m. This means the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups (people with heart conditions, respiratory issues including asthma, those who are sick, the very young, and the elderly).
With the continued heat and humidity, that will lead to an unstable environment in the afternoon and evening hours conducive for convection and strong scattered thunderstorms. These storms will be capable of local heavy downpours, frequent lightning, small hail, and gusty winds 40-50 mph. The strongest storms may reach severe limits because of downburst wind gusts near 60 mph. If you have outdoor plans (for example, the Flying Squirrels game tonight features more fireworks), make sure you have an indoor backup plan, a safe place to go to quickly should a storm threaten your location. The upper level flow continues to be from the northwest, and any disturbance aloft in that flow can enhance storm intensity and drive it southeast toward Virginia. Here is the Slight Risk for severe thunderstorms today: