Clarke County residents are bracing this week for the hottest temperatures of the summer. The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for the Northern Shenandoah Valley, including Clarke County, from noon today through 11:00 PM tonight, as temps are expected to climb to 100 degrees. Heat index values will be even higher causing dangerous conditions for the elderly and people with respiratory challenges. There is a slight chance for much-needed rain on Wednesday through Friday with a slightly greater chance for precipitation over the weekend.
In addition to the high temperatures, Clarke County has not seen significant rainfall since early May. The unofficial rain total recorded near Mount Weather for June, 2010 was 1.3 inches of rain. No rainfall has been recorded so far in July.
Dry conditions are taking a toll on local crops. According to Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality, our region is currently experiencing “abnormally dry” conditions, the lowest level of drought intensity. Groundwater and precipitation remain in the “normal” range in terms of drought evaluation.
Strong high pressure will remain over our region through Wednesday continuing to provide hot and humid conditions. High temperatures both today and Wednesday are expected to be around 100 degrees. The hot temperatures combined with an increasingly humid air mass will allow heat index values to reach up to 105 degrees each afternoon.
The National Weather Service defines a heat advisory as a period when the combination of hot temperatures and high humidity combine to create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible.
Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun and check up on relatives and neighbors.