Virginia Water Status Report as of the End of November 2013, Plus a Quick Look at Nationwide Drought

Here is the Virginia Water Central News Grouper’s monthly water-status report, as of the end of November 2013.

First, in precipitation: Here are National Weather Service (NWS) preliminary precipitation totals for November 2013 at 11 Virginia or near-Virginia locations, with the amount above (+) or below (-) normal for this month of the year historically in parentheses.  All values are in inches, rounded to the nearest 0.1 inch from NWS values.

Blacksburg

3.0 (+0.1)

 

Bluefield
(Va.-W.Va. state line)

3.2 (+0.5)

Bristol
(Tri-Cities Airport in Tenn., about 20 miles from Bristol, Va.-Tenn.)

3.9 (+0.8)

Charlottesville

2.9 (-1.0)

 

Danville

2.9 (-0.5)

 

Dulles Airport
(Loudoun County)

2.8 (-0.6)

Lynchburg

3.3 (-0.1)

 

Norfolk

2.6 (-0.6)

 

Richmond

3.1 (-0.2)

 

Roanoke

2.7 (-0.7)

 

Wallops Island
(Accomack County)

2.5 (-0.4)

Precipitation sources:  Climate pages of the following National Weather Service Forecast Offices:
Blacksburg, Va. (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=rnk)
Morristown, Tenn. (http://www.weather.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=mrx
Baltimore-Washington (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=lwx); and
Wakefield, Va. (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=akq).

The normal values used by the National Weather Service (NWS) in these provisional reports are based on the 1981-2010 period.  The National Climatic Data Center released these normal values in July 2011.  For information on the normals, see the National Climatic Data Center Web page at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/normals/usnormals.html.

For graphs of precipitation, visit the Southeast Regional Climate Center (Chapel Hill, N.C) at http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps, where you can find maps of total precipitation and percent of normal precipitation for the past 7, 30, 60, or 90 days; or the NWS’ Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service at http://water.weather.gov/precip/ for a map of precipitation nationwide or by state, with capability to show county boundaries, and archives available for specific days, months, or years.  Shown below are the Southeast Regional Climate Center’s provisional (still needing verification) maps of precipitation and percent-of-normal precipitation for the 30-day period of November 2—December 1, 2013.

Precip Nov 2013 for Grouper

 Precip percentage Nov 2013 for Grouper


Next, in stream flow
: According to the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia, average streamflow values for November 2013 at 149 stream gages in Virginia and just beyond the state border (that is, the monthly average of streamflow readings taken at each gage) were in the normal range at about 84 percent of gages; above normal at about one percent; and below normal at about 15 percent.  The color-coded, flow-percentile map for November 2013 is shown below.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS to compared flows to historical records for the month are as follows:
Red and maroon dots: Below 10th percentile = much below normal to record low;
Yellow dots: 10th to 24th percentile = below normal;
Green dots: 25th to 75th percentile = normal;
Light blue dots: 76th to 90th percentile = above normal;
Dark blue and black dots: Above 90th percentile = much above normal to record high.

KEEP Stream Flow Color Code 

 

 

 Streams Monthly November 2013


Third, in groundwater levels:
The map below, from the Virginia Active Water Level Network, presented online at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Web site at http://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov/StateMaps/VA.html, shows groundwater-monitoring stations and levels on December 2, 2013, compared to the normal value at a given well for that date over each well’s period of record.  Please see the table following the map for explanation of the color codes and symbol shapes.

 Groundwater Dec 2 2013 for Grouper

KEEP Groundwater codes 

Finally, our drought watch: The weekly National Drought Monitor map from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/) on N0vember 26, 2013, categorized about five percent of Virginia as “abnormally dry” (in five counties around Danville).

The Drought Monitor notes that it “focuses on broad-scale conditions [and] local conditions may vary.”  The Drought Monitor categories are as follows:
D0 = abnormally dry;
D1 = moderate drought;
D2 = severe drought;
D3 = extreme drought;
D4 = exceptional drought.

For comparison, here are Virginia ratings from previous Drought Monitors from about one month, two months, three months, and one year ago:
10/29/13: 5 percent abnormally dry;
10/1/13: 30 percent abnormally dry;
9/3/13: drought-free;
11/27/12: 57 percent abnormally dry or worse, 34 percent in moderate drought.

Looking beyond Virginia: the November 26 Drought Monitor rated 50.8 percent of the United States (including all or parts of 48 states) as being abnormally dry or worse, and it rated 13.8 percent of the country (including all or parts of 17 states), as being in severe drought or worse (categories D2, D3, and D4).  (On August 7, 2012, 38.5 percent of the country was in the three worst categories; that was the highest percentage in these categories reported by the Drought Monitor since it began in 2000.)  The nationwide severe-or-worse percentages in the previous three months and one year ago were as follows:
10/29/13: 15.1 percent;
10/1/13: 17.3 percent;
9/3/13: 27.9 percent;
11/27/12: 34.8 percent.

In two the states, over 50 percent of the state was categorized by the November 26 report as being in severe-or-worse drought:
California = 83 percent;
Nevada = 78 percent (with 29 percent rated in extreme or exceptional drought).

Please click these links for previous News Grouper monthly water status reports during the past 12 months:
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012

11 responses to “Virginia Water Status Report as of the End of November 2013, Plus a Quick Look at Nationwide Drought

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