BLUEFIELD — Starting early Saturday, heavy rains and high winds are possible when the remains of a powerful hurricane hitting the Gulf Coast arrives over the region.
The National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va. has been following Hurricane Laura, which was approaching Louisiana and Texas Wednesday, prompting mass evacuations as it became a Category 4 storm. Laura’s remnants are expected to track
eastward across southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia by Saturday morning.
In advance of Laura, scattered and mainly afternoon and evening thunderstorms are expected Thursday and Friday, mainly west of the Blue Ridge. Locally heavy rainfall and localized flooding will be the main concern with this activity, according to forecasters with the weather service.
“It would be around Saturday morning,” meteorologist Eric Taylor told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.
“It will most likely be a tropical depression. That’s winds that are below 40 mph.”
A weather event is called a tropical storm if its winds are greater than 40 mph, he said.
Saturday’s tropical depression could bring 1 to 2 inches of rain over the region, and some localized spots could see 3 inches, Taylor said. Wind gusts of up to 40 mph are expected, but those gusts could be faster along higher elevations.
“We’re not going to have any hurricane,” Taylor stated. “It will be in and out fairly quickly; probably a six to 12-hour window.”
Sunday would be “drier, but still breezy,” he added.
The AccuWeather service’s forecast for the Bluefield area predicted up to 0.10 inches of rain Friday, and about 0.66 inches of rain on Saturday. No rain was expected by Sunday.
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