Enjoy the sunshine while it’s here.
But don’t be surprised when gray skies show up again.
Meteorologists say a statewide wet weather trend will begin again over the weekend, and last into the middle of next week.
At that time West Virginia will once again be caught in a series of upper-level low pressure systems.
It happened throughout May resulting in below normal temperatures and above normal rainfall amounts, said Fred McMullen, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh.
“May is going to be the first month in the last 14 months when we have been slightly below normal in terms of temperature,” he said.
May’s unsettled weather resulted in plenty of consecutives days with gray skies, rain, scattered showers and thunderstorms.
Not surprisingly, precipitations rates for May ran about 1.25 inches above normal.
Summer officially begins June 21, but that may not offer much of a change.
“June is typically a wet month, so it could be more of the same here and we may need to watch out for that. And the outlook for June does call for temperatures to be slightly below normal too,” he said.
For example, Morgantown’s normal high temperature for June is in the low 80s but this year could instead be in the upper 70s.
The systems now causing trouble locally first moved across the northern plains and Great Lakes before heading for New England.
State residents are no strangers to gray days.
“If you live on the west side of the mountains or downwind of lakes, you usually see more clouds than other places. So that kind of puts us in the same lump as New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania,” he said.
“If you compare the number of sunny days in Martinsburg versus the number of sunny days in Wheeling or Morgantown, it would be a factor of almost 2:1 difference. Once you cross the mountains it is going to be a big difference and you definitely see more cloudy days.”
Two state cities have previously been cited as having the fewest sunshiny days, including Beckley (155) and Elkins (151), as opposed to Charleston (175) and Huntington (162)
NWS meteorologist Mike Zwier in Charleston said Kanawha County residents and folks in neighboring areas can “expect us to stay with what we’ve been having and that’s a fair amount of days with a good chance of some rain.”
A peek or two of sunshine is nice, but probably won’t last.
Gray days have been the result of being close to storm tracks which have “allowed lots of moisture to pump up from the Gulf Coast of Mexico which brings with it the clouds and rain.”
Advanced forecasts show more of the same.
“At least into next week we are still in a more active period with showers and storms around. Unfortunately it looks like this coming weekend could also be on the wet side. By mid next week we may get more of a drier period with only some passing showers,” he said.
Showers and thunderstorms are set to move into Charleston on Saturday and continue until Friday.
Charleston has had 5.39 inches of rain in May, while the average is 4.47 inches. Beckley has had 6.2 inches compared to its normal 4.36 inches of rain or about 2 ¼ inches above normal for May.
“May and June are typically wetter months, but being a little more than two inches above normal rainfall is fairly significant and well above average,” he said.
Eastern Panhandle residents will see sunny skies with a forecast high of 78 degrees through Saturday, but then the familiar pattern returns. Forecasts call for thunderstorms on Sunday, followed by a week that includes scattered thunderstorms, clouds, showers and scattered showers.
Andy Woodcock of the NWS’ field office in Sterling, Virginia, knows that people are tired of the clouds and drizzle.
“We’ve just been stuck in a boundary that has pretty much been across the Mid-Atlantic which has kept the area cloudy and gray. At the end of this week we have another boundary that’s going to come over the area, so at least for now expect more of the same,” he said.
Southeastern counties, including Greenbrier, Mercer and Summers, are in the same soggy boat, said meteorologist Andrew Loconto who works in the NWS Blacksville, Virginia, field office.
“The active weather pattern has contributed to our cloud cover and gray skies. It looks like Thursday and Friday could be sunny but then we go back into cloudy skies, and normal to possibly slightly below normal temperatures due to the clouds or weak sunshine,” he said.
Saturday’s forecast is for scattered showers, followed by thunderstorms on Sunday and Monday. Tuesday will be cloudy while Wednesday and Thursday are expected to be wet again.
There was some good news since this region was out of last weekend’s flash flood watch. Area residents are still cleaning up and recovering from last summer’s deadly flooding that destroyed hundreds of homes, businesses and claimed some local lives.
“People in that area definitely don’t need any heavy rains or high water.”